Chicago Teachers Strike

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johnfajardohenry
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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:54 am

Galoot wrote:excellent teacher training--only about 1 in 10 applicants to the teacher training programs (there are two of them) get admitted.


I've read several of Diane Ravitch's (the article author) books and many of her articles over the years. I agree with her on a lot, disagree with her on a lot (testing for example) but certainly have a great deal of respect for her. She has long been a critic, as I am, of the way teachers are trained in the US. She is generally not a fan of ed schools though perhaps not as extremist as I am. She is a believer that teachers should go through regular academic programs. A history teacher should have a regular degree in history, for example. This is the exception in the US.

So how do the Finns train their teachers? I think you omitted the most important part. From the article:

"admission to these elite teacher education programs is highly competitive: only one of every ten applicants is accepted. There are no alternative ways to earn a teaching license. Those who are accepted have already taken required high school courses in physics, chemistry, philosophy, music, and at least two foreign languages. Future teachers have a strong academic education for three years, then enter a two-year master’s degree program. Subject-matter teachers earn their master’s degree from the university’s academic departments, not—in contrast to the US—the department of teacher education, or in special schools for teacher education."
<snip>

The main thing I learned in ed school is that, given how we train teachers, it is a miracle that our schools are not even worse than they are.

BTW: My kids went to Catholic school. Some of their teachers may have had govt teaching licenses. I suspect that many did not. It was not a requirement by the school. Competence was.

Many years ago they told the govt that, as a church sponsored school, they were not subject to govt interference with curriculum, teacher qualifications and so on. They might have lost in a legal battle but the govt never wanted to take on the politics of a legal battle.

They do comply with all physical requirements, fire, sanitation, health, building codes etc.

The only nuns teaching in the school were in religion classes.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby wack wack » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:01 am

johnfajardohenry wrote:
Rich Schultz wrote:Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.


Only in the govt sector would these kinds of performance numbers not result in immediate termination.

John Henry


As long as parents are part (or more accurately NOT part) of the equation, it is unreasonable to link teacher compensation to child performance. A truly bad teacher sticks out like a sore thumb; the failures to which you point go far beyond teachers.

That aside, large-scale incompetence is so common in private business that the phenomenon from which it results actually has a name: the Peter Principle. Not only will you not get fired, you'll probably be promoted!

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Galoot » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:07 am

I actually did mention that only 1 in ten teachers get admitted to the teacher training programs. And I am strongly in favor of changing teacher accreditation to make it far more rigorous. Neither the left or the right is talking at all about this hugely important idea.

It's like the left is pulling west and the right is pulling east, and the right direction to go is north. In math terminology, the solution direction is completely orthogonal to efforts proposed by both the left and the right.

But the strike in Chicago is mainly over standardized testing, used as a basis for teacher evaluation. And Mr. Henry, you never once addressed the fact that the Finns, quite rightly, consider such an idea to be crazy.

Is there any school system in the U.S. that has improved student achievement through such methodology?

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby HawkHead » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:42 am

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/01/sm ... ure-rates/

Here is the success rate for private business.

Within 5 years 50% of all new business ventures fail.

Private businesses fail all the time. To try and compare private business and public schools is ridiculous and doesn't favor prviate business actually.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:15 pm

wack wack wrote:That aside, large-scale incompetence is so common in private business that the phenomenon from which it results actually has a name: the Peter Principle. Not only will you not get fired, you'll probably be promoted!


two points:

First, where large scale incompetence exists in private business, they generally go out of business. The exceptions would be where they are propped up by govt.

Second, you have the Peter Principle about 180 degrees backward.

The Peter Principle (As detailed in Laurence Peter's 1969 book of the same name) is about promoting competent people to their level of incompetence.

One of the examples he discusses, IIRC, is of a garage mechanic. He is a super competent mechanic with outstanding performance in every way.

So the shop manager leaves and management decides that, because this fellow is so competent as a mechanic, to promote him to manager.

He turns out to be incompetent as a manager. the qualities that made him competent as a mechanic, do not necessarily make him competent as a manager. It is a completely different skill set. He might be able to learn the skills but it should not be assumed. He also might not wish to learn the skills and may be happiest working with motors.

Using the Peter Principle, he has been promoted to his "level of incompetence". A contented, competent mechanic is now a discontented, incompetent manager.

It is a big problem in engineering and other technical fields.

I think Peter also had a similar example in the book of a highly competent teacher being promoted to be a supervisor or principle because of their competence and being an incompetent supervisor.

The book is excellent and I highly recommend it.

He also compiled a big book of quotations that I found to be much better than Bartlett. I used to have a copy but basically wore it out.

John Henry

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:25 pm

Galoot wrote:And Mr. Henry, you never once addressed the fact that the Finns, quite rightly, consider such an idea to be crazy.


Perhaps you missed this from last night where I said:

I am a big believer in testing both individualized and standardized. Often and with consequences for not passing (summer school, repeating a grade, tutoring or whatever) The tests do have to be valid of course.

This firm belief got me in a lot of trouble with my professors when I was in school a few years back. It is definitely counter to current thinking in the educational establishment. Or was in 2003 or so. Given how often educational fads change, testing may be back in fashion again, though I don't see much evidence of it.


Standardized testing is one of the areas where I disagree with Ravitch and, apparently, with the Finns.

I share many of Ravitch's concerns about standardized testing. She thinks they should be discarded. I think that conceptually they can work and that they need to be fixed. If you like, we can discuss this in more detail but it may be too inside baseball for a general discussion.

Perhaps Ravitch discussed how they determine whether Finnish teachers are doing a good job or not and I missed it. I will reread the article and see.


How would you determine whether a teacher is doing a good job or not, Galoot?

Shouldn't a teacher's job performance be measured by how much their students learn? The entire goal of any school, at any level, it seems to me, should be that the student has more knowledge in June than they did in September.

Absent testing, how can that be determined?

John Henry

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:36 pm

HawkHead wrote:Within 5 years 50% of all new business ventures fail.

Private businesses fail all the time. To try and compare private business and public schools is ridiculous and doesn't favor prviate business actually.


Pretty much my point.

Businesses that do not provide what is wanted of them fail all the time. When they do, they close their doors and the resources become available for something else.

(Unless they are GM/Chrysler)

Schools don't. They just keep failing year after year after year.

To some extent teachers are victims of the system. They are very often underqualified and undereducated to do what they are supposed to be doing. As the article on the Finns notes, a better selection and education process for teaches would help a lot. You do not do anyone any favors by putting them in a job they can't do.

But they are victims in the sense that the public education system is designed to fail. Kids are simply the chow on which the system feeds. Pretty much nobody seems to care about results in the form of knowledgeable educated students. Nobody in a position to do anything about it, anyway.

Parents care. At least many do.

John Henry

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby wack wack » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:37 pm

johnfajardohenry wrote:
wack wack wrote:That aside, large-scale incompetence is so common in private business that the phenomenon from which it results actually has a name: the Peter Principle. Not only will you not get fired, you'll probably be promoted!


two points:

First, where large scale incompetence exists in private business, they generally go out of business. The exceptions would be where they are propped up by govt.

Second, you have the Peter Principle about 180 degrees backward.

The Peter Principle (As detailed in Laurence Peter's 1969 book of the same name) is about promoting competent people to their level of incompetence.

One of the examples he discusses, IIRC, is of a garage mechanic. He is a super competent mechanic with outstanding performance in every way.

So the shop manager leaves and management decides that, because this fellow is so competent as a mechanic, to promote him to manager.

He turns out to be incompetent as a manager. the qualities that made him competent as a mechanic, do not necessarily make him competent as a manager. It is a completely different skill set. He might be able to learn the skills but it should not be assumed. He also might not wish to learn the skills and may be happiest working with motors.

Using the Peter Principle, he has been promoted to his "level of incompetence". A contented, competent mechanic is now a discontented, incompetent manager.

It is a big problem in engineering and other technical fields.

I think Peter also had a similar example in the book of a highly competent teacher being promoted to be a supervisor or principle because of their competence and being an incompetent supervisor.

The book is excellent and I highly recommend it.

He also compiled a big book of quotations that I found to be much better than Bartlett. I used to have a copy but basically wore it out.

John Henry


Holy fucking crap, Batman. keep reading your books, JH. There is nothing you can say that will disprove what I live.

It is easy to hide incompetence in a large corporation that will never go out of business. Happens every day, all the time, all over the world. I know this. You won't find a single major corporation where it doesn't happen.

Now, here's how the peter principle REALLY works: people of marginal talent get promoted while the people with real talent are left behind to do actual work. In corporate America, middle management is a giant pile of irresponsibly promoted shit.

Get out of the library, John Henry. Come live a little.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby wack wack » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:41 pm

johnfajardohenry wrote:
HawkHead wrote:Within 5 years 50% of all new business ventures fail.

Private businesses fail all the time. To try and compare private business and public schools is ridiculous and doesn't favor prviate business actually.


Pretty much my point.

Businesses that do not provide what is wanted of them fail all the time. When they do, they close their doors and the resources become available for something else.

(Unless they are GM/Chrysler)

Schools don't. They just keep failing year after year after year.

To some extent teachers are victims of the system. They are very often underqualified and undereducated to do what they are supposed to be doing. As the article on the Finns notes, a better selection and education process for teaches would help a lot. You do not do anyone any favors by putting them in a job they can't do.

But they are victims in the sense that the public education system is designed to fail. Kids are simply the chow on which the system feeds. Pretty much nobody seems to care about results in the form of knowledgeable educated students. Nobody in a position to do anything about it, anyway.

Parents care. At least many do.

John Henry


If you actually read for truth, rather than for what you want to see, you'd learn that poverty and lack of parental involvement are the true obstacles to quality education.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:18 pm

I don't care what principal it is, dipshits get promoted in the the public AND private sector all the time. There are some bad teachers, there are a lot of great teachers. There are some bad employees in the private sector, there are a lot of great employees. I know a lot of people in both and the stories are always the same. One may say that private companies will then fail, but when they're big enough those shitty middle managers just cause problems within their department and not to the company as a whole. They often don't get fired but get moved around to other positions. I've seen them get promoted to a better job that is non-managerial just so they don't have to work with many other people.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby johnfajardohenry » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:31 pm

wack wack wrote:
It is easy to hide incompetence in a large corporation that will never go out of business. Happens every day, all the time, all over the world. I know this. You won't find a single major corporation where it doesn't happen.


Of course it does. I am in different companies every day and see it first hand. If the company is big enough it can go on for a long time before the company eventually fails. Look at GM. They didn't become incompetent last year. That long decline has been going on for 50 years or more. Twenty years ago it may have seemed like it could never fail. But what about today?

I don't think it (incompetent companies remaining in business) happens as often as you would have us believe. Based on direct personal experience.

wack wack wrote:Now, here's how the peter principle REALLY works: people of marginal talent get promoted while the people with real talent are left behind to do actual work.


Of course this happens. I would never claim it does not. All I was pointing out that the Peter Principle is a specific concept having to do with overpromoting competent people and what you describe is something else entirely.

wack wack wrote: In corporate America, middle management is a giant pile of irresponsibly promoted shit.


And your basis for saying this is? Where do you get your experience in this area? How many private sector companies do you have experience with?

In any event, while I would not go as far as you do, I generally agree with that statement. An awful lot of middle management is useless and serves more to clog up the works than to benefit it. That is why a lot of the more successful companies have done away with much middle management.

As Henry Ford said when he got rid of 650 middle managers:

“We had been collecting tons of statistics because they were interesting. But statistics will not construct automobiles--so out they went.”

Of those 650, he found other places for 550 of them in productive jobs. The others he felt would be "Better suited to jobs in other companies" (Quoting from memory)

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby SlayerDave » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:56 pm

Stebben84 wrote:I don't care what principal it is, dipshits get promoted in the the public AND private sector all the time. There are some bad teachers, there are a lot of great teachers. There are some bad employees in the private sector, there are a lot of great employees. I know a lot of people in both and the stories are always the same. One may say that private companies will then fail, but when they're big enough those shitty middle managers just cause problems within their department and not to the company as a whole. They often don't get fired but get moved around to other positions. I've seen them get promoted to a better job that is non-managerial just so they don't have to work with many other people.


True!

Thing is, the CTU is striking so that when said bad teachers (which you admit are there) get fired, those same teachers get to be first in line when new jobs open up. That's nuts.

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby SlayerDave » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:02 pm

Also, re: class size, it's true that Finland does quite well with class sizes smaller than ours. However, other nations that also do well, such as Japan and Korea, have class sizes larger than the U.S.

Image

Personally, I think focus on class size is misguided and a distraction.
It's been declining in the U.S. for some time, with little corresponding improvement.
http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchi ... cators.pdf

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby Galoot » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:10 pm

Mr. Henry, I asked before and I will ask again--please show me some evidence that rating teachers based on standardized test results has led to improved student outcomes.

You favor such testing and using it to rate teachers. Is this based on evidence? If not, isn't it just based on nothing more than a gut feeling?

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Re: Chicago Teachers Strike

Postby HawkHead » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:13 pm

SlayerDave wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:I don't care what principal it is, dipshits get promoted in the the public AND private sector all the time. There are some bad teachers, there are a lot of great teachers. There are some bad employees in the private sector, there are a lot of great employees. I know a lot of people in both and the stories are always the same. One may say that private companies will then fail, but when they're big enough those shitty middle managers just cause problems within their department and not to the company as a whole. They often don't get fired but get moved around to other positions. I've seen them get promoted to a better job that is non-managerial just so they don't have to work with many other people.


True!

Thing is, the CTU is striking so that when said bad teachers (which you admit are there) get fired, those same teachers get to be first in line when new jobs open up. That's nuts.


I don't think you are right. If you could please include a link to your source I would appreciate that.

I believe what the CTU is asking for is to let teachers who were let go in the past due to consolidations and shrinking budgets to be hired back before inexperienced teachers are hired. Not teachers that were dismissed for poor performance.


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