are you concerned

mom_of_4April 8, 2011

I don't know about everyone else and their school districts...but ours is facing an almost billion dollar shortage and are now talking about completely eleminating sports arts and music. The only other option they have on the table is to shorten the school week to four days. It is insane. One of the most important things to our children and our future is being sacrificed for the sake of balancing the budget (by our state and our county is left to suffer)... I wish I could afford private school for my kids but I just can't. I am scared .. are you? are you even facing these things in your districts/states/wherever?

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I've had one child or another in public school for the past 19 years and that entire time, EVERY year all I hear is how the schools have no money... budget crisis, cutbacks, blah blah blah.

During that nearly 20 years, real estate prices have doubled/tripled or better. (even now with the market down, still better than 20 years ago, right?) And property taxes based on home values are collected from everyone, whether they have a child in school or not. Schools get that money, but when they start paying administrators six figure salaries & teachers unions want higher pay to compete with private industry... the kids are the ones suffering because of it.

Last year, SD's school was going to eliminate the PE teacher & have the other teachers rotate as PE teacher. The PTA held fundraisers & asked for donations to meet his salary (60k)... but do you think the teachers would take a small pay cut to save his job? NOOOOOO!!! It falls on the shoulders of the parents that like the teacher & want their kids to have a real PE coach. And then there is the never ending list of things they expect parents to buy, things that used to be provided by the school. That's fine' paper, pencils, scissors, folders, etc. If my kid uses it, then it's not too big a deal to buy those things... but I've had teachers asking parents to supply their classroom with things like color laser toner cartridges, and other materials teachers may need in the classroom. If parents are expected to pay for all that stuff, what is the school district doing with all the money they get?

Sorry that I'm a bit cynical about teachers & the public school system. I'm already researching private school for DGS2. It seems all I've heard over the last 20 years, in regard to schools/education, is about money.... missing a day at school causes the schools to lose money. Well, yeah but more importantly... missing time from school (or being late) causes the child to miss out on lectures, lessons, etc. But, all I ever hear them talk about is losing money. It makes me wonder if they care more about the money than the kids being educated.

So, to answer your question... yes, I'm scared too because I have one child failing miserably yet nobody wants to do anything about it... and I may have a child starting school in a few years & most likely will end up putting him in private school. I'm even considering home school for SD next year. I'm pretty disappointed with the public school system in general & have felt that way since my son came home in the 7th grade, parroting things the teachers were saying in class.... how to vote, about the budget problems, etc. It is bad enough that they seem more concerned with money than educating, but then to use the kids as messengers... too far.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 7:11PM
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That's too bad imamommy that your kids have such bad experience with public education.

We are very pleased with public education that my DD, niece, nephew, SO's both kids, my friends' children, my cousins, my cousin's children received or are currently receiving. And everybody had different abilities and attended different districts yet we don't have major complains at all, all did/do reasonably well. Interesting...Possibly depends on the state or...who knows...

It is also very sad that teachers, that your kids have, are there for the money. I'd like to know where your kids go to school. I'd think that people who are after the money go to lucrative careers, not teaching? At least not in my area. We never had a raise for years and now taking 10% cut and our health care sucks, huge class sizes, we buy our own supplies for the kids etc. I know many teachers, I am yet to meet one who is there for the money.

I am familiar with different districts in different socio-economic levels and never heard of donations you described. Sure it is not legal here to donate for teachers salaries. PTA donates for teachers salaries? LOL Our parents are on welfare and don't even buy pencils for their kids and are on free lunch, no salary donations here. Plus like i said it is illegal. Heck I'd be happy kids bring their own pencils, which they don't. Never heard of donating cartridges.

My DD attended school in an affluent area (yes her school struggled financially too)and no, we did not donate either. I bought school supplies juts a regular stuff, like a notebook. That's about it. She received top notch high school education. I don't know what's better out there, not much.

Interesting question what districts do with all that money...What money? We have none. Maybe I should move. ha

Now I do agree that there are awful schools and districts out there. I personally avoided putting my DD into such schools/districts. Of course there are bad teachers out there, we have a few who need to retire already.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 3:09PM
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mom_of_4, it is atrocious what is going on. Just horrible. I totally hear you, you must be in Midwest too, it is very bad here.

It is horrible to eliminate art,sports and music, awful. We are facing very difficult decisions, we are taking 10% salary cut (I work in public education) so we don't have to eliminate athletics, art and music, but class sizes go up nonetheless. We just pink slipped large number of teachers last week which means class sizes will be up to 45 next year.

yes it is scary how it is going to effect education, we are very frustrated here.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 3:17PM
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I don't know any teacher in it for money either in our area. The highest paid district (teachers) top out at 45k and they do spend a lot of their own money funding their classrooms.

I am concerned as my children are young and are not near the end of their education (one hasn't even started) so the future scares me. We lived in a high property tax city for a few years and dd wasn't getting what she needed as a gifted child and because we are not minority, so we moved to another city with lower property tax but better ratings in testing and reputation and I am Soooo glad we did.

1st district has cut all programs starting immediatly meaning my daughter would have suffered even more plus they laid off 250 teachers.

The district we moved to is making no cuts and has saved enough in the past few years in preparing for this situation that they can float for a few more years with no major changes and even after the next three years, they have plans in place to save now for later as they did before. I am still concerned but not too bad.

The fear is real. The problem is real. The children in neighboring districts are going to suffer. It's sad. All of these teachers that have lost their jobs will likely have to change careers because no district will be hiring.

I do believe administrators are paid too much and will not take pay cuts ... Neither will our government officials that claim to care so much about this country.

I was enraged a few weeks ago to hear of the budget cuts in the schools in our area and then come home to hear Obama singing education has to become priority in our country because we are far behind other developed countries in education ... We need new text books, teachers need to be held to higher standards blah blah blah yet the crisis in our neighboring districts don't allow for new books or programs and definitly won't attract higher educated teachers. 90% of the teachers at dd's school hold a masters degree or higher and don't make more than $45k a year. They aren't there for the money or they would take those masters degrees and go do something else making what their boss make or more...

I really don't care about Lybia or any other country right now because my children may very well suffer in a few years or lack of funds and/or lack of planning.

Our district told us to write our senators and demand changes ... So that's what we are doing. Mom of 4 maybe you could pass that around in your area too. At least it's worth a try.. We can't afford private school either but our public schools should be enough and was always good enough for my family. The money they already get from us out of taxes.. Where is it? What's it going to and why are our schools last on their list of things to do. I would gladly take an increase in order to help the schools unfortunately I don't think it would go to the schools at all.

You are not alone in your frustration and your concern.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 1:47AM
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good post myfampg, great realistic suggestions. We've been writing our state senators...Unfortunately my senator is the one who proposed the initial budget cuts, so you can imagine what he replies to me. But contacting them is a good idea even if they disagree, at least they know what public thinks. Yes unfortunately teachers and good parents out there could only do their part, if state is not willing to make education a priority, everyone suffers.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 7:39AM
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I'm scared too...

My older son recently graduated, and apart from *not* receiving any help for his learning diabilities, he received an outstanding education that prepared him beautifully for college. (Older DS is also gifted, so the school claimed 'net, net, average - does not qualify')

My younger son is in special education, which I'm very worried about. It costs the school a lot more to educate him, and in our very college-prep-focused community, I'm concerned special ed. will be one of the first/most severely cut... Younger son's IEP is coming up in a few weeks, and I'm crossing my fingers. For the past few years, the school has done very well by him, and he's been blossoming and learning even more than we would have expected. ('Performance' scores exceeding 'Ability' scores)

I don't know where (if?) they're overspending, but I wish them luck --
I'd also much rather spend on books than guns, but getting out of a war we're already in isn't easy...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 1:29PM
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Just to be clear... I wasn't saying I think the teachers are in it for the money. I was saying that I don't think it's right for teachers to discuss their financial problems they are having with the district, with the students. The students are there to learn, not go home with messages about how they should vote to help the teachers/school. It's one thing to discuss politics, another to push their own agenda.

In my opinion, the district administrators decide how the money is budgeted. We live in an area with fairly high home values. There is no reason for districts in our county to have a "budget crisis" but they say they do. We are charged for bus service, which really surprised me since my kids were never charged to ride the bus in our old town, which was a farming community with a large population living below poverty level. The schools in the poorer area never asked parents to provide classroom supplies or pay for the bus. And it may just be in CA, or my county.

I have the same concern as Sweeby. The schools here are college prep focused too, and with SD being a "low achiever" they don't want to hold her back so they put her in an "academy" for low achievers, which to me felt like they just want to shuffle her into a corner & pass her along. My concern is that as SD gets pushed along into high school, she will fall between the cracks & shuffled into an "alternative" school. My daughter, who truly tried & was tested but didn't qualify (barely) for special ed. or an IEP, was shuffled off to "continuation" school when she got into Freshman year. The "continuation" school was where dropouts were allowed to come back if they wanted a GED and it was full of troubled kids, pregnant girls, kids on probation, anyone that couldn't or wouldn't get along in traditional high school. I opted to home school her instead. I'm now considering that with SD.

It's so frustrating that it seems like all the schools talk about is money & they start announcing programs they have to cut because they have no money. If they have a set amount to work with, then maybe cuts do need to be made. I think the first cuts should be from the salaries of the Superintendent, cut administrative assistants, cut from the top. A principal should not be making more than $100k when teachers are only making $45k. That was my point.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 2:44PM
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You should be very proud of your children's accomplishments sweeby. Although I believe school plays positive role in your children's success, I believe they you as a parent play the most positive role here. Congrats on their success.

sweeby special education will not be cut, it is federally mandated and does not full under state budget cuts. The only thing that might be cut is a number of instructional aids. Your son will continue receiving services the best way possible. Good luck.

Principals and teachers have entirely different job description, different number of hours they are at work, different responsibilities, no 2 months off (few weeks regular vacation only), different amount of work, different level of responsibility etc. It is a completely different position. I doubt anyone would want to do this type of job for much less money. Most people would not want to do it for any kind of money. It is just too crazy.

I am sorry ima your children and stepchild do/did not do well in school, it must be frustrating. Unfortunately there are many students who fall through the cracks.

Budget crisis comes from state budget cuts, not administration. When budget per students is severely cut, there is not enough money to go around. When there is nothing to go around, decisions have to be made such as cutting certain positions, salaries, supplies, services etc. State budget cuts effect high income schools as well, although not as bad as low income.

It is easy to say why don't teachers make a salary cut (and most state already did and keep on doing, teachers got to eat too), so they can keep PE teacher or why schools ask parents to buy supplies. It is easy to say. Teachers got to eat too, salary cuts have some limits, and buying supplies for kids has its limits too.

I think retaining your SD just because she does not want to her homework and is lazy, plus is lying all the time is not going to solve anything. As you stated before her issue is not lack of ability. Retention is not going to solve her problems.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:47PM
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I'm in a rural school district and while our education/programs are good, the rate coming in from the state is hurting us. Budget crisis in state is making the state go ages to send the schools share back to them.

One plan currently being considered state-wide is cutting back the transportation funding that the state helps the schools with. The idea set off loud squeals.

Back to my district. Teacher's salary are fair and so are the adminstration cost per averages and across state based district size. If the state were to be sending cash out on time, many districts here would not be having problems. Federal grant money helped us keep art but at 1/2 time. We also use 'teacher aides' to assist on many areas of the classroom. While they are limited in what they can do, they do provide much needed assistance at a much lower cost.

Would I be singing praises to a school in another area of the my state? Likely not. The bigger cities are having a heck of a time. Our funding are based on local property taxes and schools are not awarded funds equal. While one school has an olympic swimming pool another a few miles away may have leaking roofs and a student population that depend on state help for supplies (basic notebooks and pencil stuff).

Usual cost of living increases in teacher contracts here are usually 2 to 3% a yr during length of contract (not always)...not overly outrageous. Again, more well off districts of course have a better chance of awarding 5% a yr. Our teachers pay 9% pension contributions and health benefit premiums for active teachers are based on state worker premiums bargaining table agreements.

My district does do fund raising to purchase some items for classrooms. They also started a program where parents/businesses can sponser something for the year or straight out. Student based magazines, newpaper subscriptions ect. Occassional request for tape recorders and the like, that type of classroom material which enhances our kids while in that classroom. School supply list each year has little things like each kid has to bring two large boxes of kleenex and assorted erasable markers for the learning boards (this plus other usual school supplies can be waived for children when necessary). Nothing too exciting. I've sent a case of hand sanitizer (rather that than cough germs LOL) and desk wipes for the last couple years. I'd rather do that then some of the other selections and of course it is optional (meaning if parent can not, parent does not sign up for donation).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 5:40PM
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I do agree with you imma -- admin should take a pay cut --

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 6:44PM
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I am surprised administration did not take pay cuts in some states. I think it could be because those states did not have major budget cuts.

I am surprised to hear that some districts are still getting 5% increase when we not only had no increase for long time, we are taking cuts, not increases. Certainly not the case in my area. 5%! Those times are over. Were up to 10%% cut right now.

Also I have worked in both high and low socio-economic level areas and almost everything what is in the classroom (with the exception of textbooks and technology-and not even that always) is not provided by the district but is purchased by a teacher. I have never heard of any district supplying tissues or sanitizer or pens or pencils (beyond like few a year maybe). Now i am talking high schools, maybe elementary schools are different.

So if a parent buys one box of Kleenex, it is extremely helpful. I understand pay cuts yet people need to understand that it is financially straining to buy everything out of one's pocket. Teachers get $300.00 refund of supplies purchased, yet they spent way more than that on making students' life more manageable.

Two large box of Kleenex would be a dream come true. Honestly have never even heard of such thing. Comes out of our own pockets. Otherwise kids wipe their noses with their sleeves.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:58PM
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"I think retaining your SD just because she does not want to her homework and is lazy, plus is lying all the time is not going to solve anything. As you stated before her issue is not lack of ability. Retention is not going to solve her problems."

Those aren't the only reasons retention is being considered. If she does not understand the concepts other student's learn, how does she progress and succeed in the next grade level where they use what they learned last year & it gets harder? ie. learning how to write a report. SD had a book report to turn in last week. She actually did it, but it looked like something a 3rd or 4th grader would turn in. If she can't write a 6th grade level book report, how is she going to succeed when given term papers, etc. to complete? She does not have the skills. She has the ABILITY to learn, but she isn't taking it seriously. Why pass her along, so she sits in the next grade level where she hasn't picked up the skills to succeed? She sits there lost & not knowing what to do, so she does nothing & gets further behind. Personally, I think she should have been retained in 4th grade because when she got into 5th grade, she couldn't keep up with some of the math concepts because she goofed off so much in 4th grade & didn't learn what she needed to know to do 5th grade math.... kinda like trying to learn fractions when you can't add or multiply.

At this point, all of her work... spelling, handwriting, math, etc. look like a 3rd or 4th grader did them. We've gone to open house where writings or reports are displayed & while there are a few that look like a parent did it for the kid (not saying parents did it, maybe high achiever students), but most look about the same, which is what I assume is appropriate for the grade level... neatness, content, etc. and we can easily find SD's because it looks like a small child did it. I don't expect her to rise to the same level as everyone else that have been keeping up every year. I expect her to TRY and to do her best & what I see is her doing the bare minimum or less, waiting until bedtime the night before an assignment is due to start on it when it was assigned weeks earlier, etc.

Just a little vent: Last week, she came home & I looked in her backpack. Her binder is missing & crumpled papers are found throughout. Those are her assignments, both graded & stuff that's due. She brings me her binder that has been torn apart & hidden in her room. I ask what happened to it, she says her friend tore it up. Now, she has another binder in her room... she could have moved her folders over & started using that one. She could have taken the folders out & just used them without the binder to keep her papers in. At this point, we are trying to focus on building her study & organizational skills & learning skills (ie. looking up stuff instead of guessing or making up what she thinks it might be) and her writing skills because she will need those things as she moves to higher grades. It's an uphill battle with her fighting it all the way.

Having the ABILITY to do the work is not a reason to pass them along when they choose not to work to their potential. Heck, ANY potential. She was tested in 4th grade & that was when it was determined she had the ability to do grade level work & it even said she was above average. But, as I said she goofed off & now she's in 6th grade doing work that looks like a 3rd grader did it. She does not try & rushes through, does not follow directions and she thinks she is doing it correctly. She will argue with me that she's doing what the teacher said to do... then when she gets a low score because it's done wrong, she'll say "oh" and "well I did what the teacher said" and doesn't want to hear or admit that she was wrong.

I don't know if retention is the answer for her, but I do know that it got her attention for a minute. She is in the low achievers class now & has 2 B's, 1 C, & a D-. She had all B+'s a couple of weeks ago. There's no reason for her to have grades that are dropping... they do most of the work in class & it's a very small class with two teachers to help & answer questions. They offered several extra credit assignments as well, SD has done none of the extra credit. I asked her why, she said "I don't HAVE to do those". UGH! But she has a D- in that class & was told we decide on retention in another month. You'd think a kid that doesn't want to be held back would do a few extra credits to at least get a C. If anyone has a suggestion on how to get through that kind of stubborn thinking... I'm open to suggestions. (I'm going to start another thread so I don't hijack this one)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 12:31PM
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One-on-one tutoring with a professional with experience in the field.

My niece struggled with math in 3rd grade. She is very far from being lazy, actually the other way around, works so hard at everything. She just could not understand what is being taught, and no she has no intellectual limitattions.

She is somewhat young, started kindergarden early and so on. My brother did homework with her daily and she still struggled, it got to the point that he thought of retaining and even my niece was not objecting.

Principal said "no: bad idea, and suggested one-on-one tutoring but not with mom/dad but a professional.

So she went to private well-known tutor over the summer and continues going now, it made all the difference. She got up to her grade level and is finishing 4th grade doing wonderfully. Math is still not her strength, but she performs on a grade level. She needed someone explaining to her individually, and not her own dad but a professional who knwos how to do it the right way.

I understand it is expensive, but if it made a difference with my niece maybe it will help with SD. Now I do have to say that my nice is extremelly responsible fo her age, she will sit and sit and study and never give up even if it is too hard. She WANTED to do well. I am not sure if your Sd cares...

Maybe in your case she needs to be retained yet if her problem is work refusal, she'll do the same next year.

In terms of lack of organization skills, I can relate, my DD is extermelly disorganzied and she onyl did well in school because she is very smart, otherwise she would fail. Don't have advice on that...I have struggled with DD as well.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 1:37PM
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I've got absolutely zero problem stating that SOME of the teachers here are in it for the money. In our city school district, teachers with a masters degree, after working for ten years (so they'd be maybe 34 years old, with ten years work experience) make $80,000 per year - for 195 days of work. For comparison, the median household income is $40,000. It's completely outrageous. If all of the teachers really were the cream of the crop, that might be one thing - but they're not. When positions are opened the schools are inundated with resumes, and most of the time it's the principal's nephew, the superintendent's daughter, a teacher's granddaughter, who are mysteriously "most qualified" for the job.

Most of the non-relative teachers who do get hired do so by virtue of having worked as substitutes (without benefits, without steady schedule, last minute notification) for years, and even that is not a sure thing. There was a near-riot here recently when one such sub, who'd worked in the district for two decades waiting for a position to open, was passed over for a job in favor of superintendent's 22 year old nephew (that decision was overturned and sub got hired after major hue and cry).

Every time teachers go on strike (seemingly every five years) residents are in an uproar suggesting that all of them be fired and replaced. It never happens, of course, they always come to an agreement where they get a raise even if it's not as much as they wanted.

I've nothing against teachers per se, or even the exorbitant salaries; SS has had some really good ones who deserve every penny they get. But I am against the ones who are tenured, cannot be fired, and barely control the class let alone teach them. (SS is in a magnet school this year where the teachers are very good; the deadweights are sent elsewhere.)

We are very lucky, in that our school district has received major grants from gazillionaire philanthropists to try some new approaches to education, so many of the non-core programs are being funded through that. Thanks, Super Rich Dude and Wife!

I believe our school district is also finally trying out some programs with "bonus" pay for performance. That's a tough one because the kids are already overly involved in standardized tests, IMHO, and I fear if that's the main measure of rating teachers. But something has to be done - we just cannot continue to pour more money into the schools to benefit the poor teachers and administrators, at the expense of the hard-working teachers, staff and students.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 4:10PM
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I'd also like to say that I have several teachers as friends on facebook, some relatives of mine. They post updates while in class. One complained that the school caught on & now she can't post anymore during class.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 4:19PM
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If anyone has a suggestion on how to get through that kind of stubborn thinking... I'm open to suggestions.

For imamommy,I'm going to give suggestions, but I realize that my suggestions might not work for your family situation or your stepdaughter. I remember my own struggles with my kids when they were in 6th grade, and I remember some of the struggles my friends went through with their kids in middle school. So here's what I would do.

First, I would set aside a study time at my home for my SD. When she came home she'd get a short break, then study time. It would have to be in a supervised place, like the kitchen table. Part of that study time would be set aside for organizing her papers, book bag, etc. I would get the homework assignments and already-taken-tests, etc. from her teachers. When she completed her homework, I'd go over it and make her correct the things that were wrong. Maybe not everything, but up to a certain level. We'd go over her already-taken-and-graded tests and assignments and review what she did wrong.

There would be some kind of reward every week for doing what she needs to do - turning in her homework, etc.

The next thing I'd do is conference with the teacher and tell the the teacher that for every class or subject my SD's not making a B or higher in, I want to come sit by her during that subject or class. And I'd go sit by her every day during that time period until she got her grade up. I know some pretty tough middle school cases that have straightened up when Mom or Dad came and sat by them in class.

I would also conference frequently with the teachers, which you're probably already doing. By phone or email, at least.

I wouldn't do a one-on-one tutoring session with a professional just yet if it was my kid. During the time I spent with her going over her homework and tests, sitting with her in class, etc., it would probably become apparent to me whether or not she needed additional, professional help. And if so, I'd get the help. But one-on-one tutoring won't solve the problem if the problem is simply lack of effort and organization. If my daughter was struggling to learn and retain the material, though, I would get professional tutoring for her as quickly as I could.

I guess the last thing I'd do (maybe) is to ask the teacher if there's a potential "study buddy" for my daughter in the class. The teacher might have an idea about whether or not a study partner in the class might be good for your SD or not. If so, perhaps the other kid could come home with your daughter and study in a supervised location like the kitchen table? The wrong kind of "study buddy" would make the situation worse, not better, though.

I know this situation must be so tough for you. I hope you find something that works. I'm sure it's exponentially difficult because there are such different rules in your SD's two homes. And it just takes a lot of time to stay on a kid's case like that, you might not have the time or the emotional energy.

To me middle school is like the do or die time for parents as far as academic success for their kids is concerned. It's a lot harder for parents to hold the line in high school. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:01PM
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That's hilarious, how does one post during class, what do students do in a meanwhile?

Ima, you have some irresponsible friends and relatives who have no respect for their job, they could be of any profession though. There are crazies everywhere, in every profession, I personally would not go into length bashing how people of any professions are there for the money or any other sterotyping, I don't think it is classy, it is just rude. But oh well...

mattie, interesting....most districts don't allow hiring relatives. 80K, don't know where they pay that, no one i know had any raise for years and only take cuts...

but then again in Japan teachers are paid the same as lawyers. They generally respect education, hence respect teachers.

Unfortunately too many parents want teachers not only teach but also fix their bad parenting and all for the lowest pay possible. I think this attitude hurts education as much as budget cuts.

PS I am surprised to hear how teachers go on strike every 5 years, it is illegal in most states.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:56PM
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--"That's hilarious, how does one post during class, what do students do in a meanwhile?"--

Not so funny but all too often reality. Teacher is in classroom alone during PE, art and music along with (grade school) lunch recess. I suppose some may even play online during times kids are doing class work. It no longer happens in my district though because while teacher may indeed have five free minutes teach can not use those minutes to play on a tax payer paid equipment. Also emails ect can and will be checked. Some teachers forget the computer they are using in school are not their personal computers to play on at will. Obviously PO1 respects this and it is unheard of nor even considered a thing to do, but it does happen.

Yeah, my district has teachers with some decent salaries. We have an Ag teacher been with the school 34 yrs and is making over $90,000...the guy is worth every dime. He does the classroom, he does the FFA program, he does the experience and fund raising for his programs...he's not a 8 to 3 Monday through Friday guy. He's retiring and will be a huge loss to our district and students.

Also have a few teachers who make around the 80,000 mark , offhand one is a english teacher with 30 plus years and one is a music/chorus/band program teacher with like 33 years in. Last mentioned teacher is also retiring and this district will feel when she is gone, but the english teacher, not so much.

We do get some squeal over the extra activites and filling of positions for those. A lot of it is filled with current staff. The 3rd classroom teacher also is the JR volleyball coach for example. And we do have spouses who both teach and/or an occassional DIL of another staff hired... but it is never a relative of the super nor the school board. Appearances might seem something to question, but I don't think anyone who has actually gotten the job has proven not to be worthy of the postion. Were the best best of the best who applied? Not sure.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 6:48PM
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"I personally would not go into length bashing how people of any professions are there for the money or any other sterotyping, I don't think it is classy, it is just rude. But oh well..."

Are you saying Ima is rude and not classy? Personally I think passive-aggressiveness is quite unbecoming. But oh well... And seriously? You bash everyone!

Has anyone read the recent articles about the teachers getting suspended for posting derogatory facebook posts? One calling her students animals and the other making fun of her second grade students hair cut?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:13PM
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I can honestly say that there are some good teachers. But, there is an overwhelming amount of teachers that just don't give a flying flip. I can't say that they are in it for the money because they really dont make that much but they are in it for an easy paycheck and summers off. At one of the schools my kids attended, the teacher flat out said she didnt have time to "deal with a kid with problems" and we needed to just "teach him at home"... When the principal backed her up, I pulled my kids out of that school. (and let me just note that it was not behavioral problems at all just low preforming because of ADD)
It wasnt until I educated myself on the laws surrounding things like IEPs and what the school could and could not do that I was able to force their hand on many issues. And, for some things it still took trips to principals and then the school board to get things done. They aren't interested in doing anything more than what they have to. I worked for a non profit that worked with several school districts in the area. We provided materials for free for students with disabilities to assist teachers. The teacher had to literally do nothing except give us a list of the students names and the books that they would be reading in their class and it was like pulling teeth. Some teachers were amazing but there were MANY who couldnt care less and should have been out on their rears a long time ago.

The district in general has lost it's way. Student success is based on one stinkin test... and now they are eliminating the very thing that keeps some kids in school. I forsee a huge uptake in the drop out rate. This will cause only more problems for our society in general ... a bunch of uneducated immature young men and women running around with nothing better to than get into trouble (because its not like jobs are readily available right now)

I just dont see why education isnt a higher priority! How can we say, as a district, that we are facing a 97 million shortfall. One that is so drastic that we are going to shorten the school week to four day. But as a district, we are spending money to make downtown pretty. Okay, maybe making it pretty was a good idea when we had money but we don't so we divert those fund. That is basic household money managing. And why oh why are we spending more millions on things like studies to see if maybe perhaps we should move the fair to another side of town sometime in the future? Especially if, our schools are about to buckle. It's just crazy!!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 10:44PM
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justmetoo, true there are some jerks in every work place. Not only lazy people but also criminals. We can provide the same analysis of every profession and get the same results.

True some areas pay very well. I still think it is a stereotyping saying that just because someone makes good money they are in that profession for the money. Or that people are in that profession for the summer off LOL, unless you asked each individual teacher, you cannot possibly say why they choose their job. I know bad cops yet i would not be saying that overwhelming majority of cops are there for XYZ reasons. Or that most doctors are there for the money. That would be an ignorant statement.

Our district allows personal usage of computer such as emails or other appropriate sites (inappropriate sites are blocked as well as facebook) but during lunch, prep hour or between classes, whenever you have no kids around.

By the way I said i work in public education, I never said i am a teacher, maybe i am school psychologist or one of those grossly overpaid vice-principals dealing with very hard working underpaid staff (most at least).

mom_of_4, maybe you need to move if that is so bad.

I feel sorry that everyone seems to have such horrible issues with their children's schools. I posted previously and repost again "We are very pleased with public education that my DD, niece, nephew, SO's both kids, my friends' children, my cousins, my cousin's children received or are currently receiving. And everybody had different abilities and attended different districts yet we don't have major complains at all, all did/do reasonably well."

Of course some districts are better than others and some areas have such difference in socio-economic level and parental involvement that of course education differs. Well sometimes you would have to move. If your areas schools are so bad, then you might have to move.

As about tests...These directives come from the state, and school districts have to comply. Schools don't have as much freedom to choose as you guys think.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 6:20AM
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--"justmetoo, true there are some jerks in every work place. Not only lazy people but also criminals. We can provide the same analysis of every profession and get the same results."--

Very correct. I've occassionaly ran across an employee who is in process of discipline and it's all I can do not to look at the offender and say 'what the &ell were you thinking'? At other times it may be an employee who is going through investigation only and has done no wrong but has been reported with a possible violation due to a received complaint. Public employees at times can be attempted to be held up to different standards and expectations, appearances and perception can be everything.

I decided to let this statement go "and let me just note that it was not behavioral problems at all just low preforming because of ADD" it's too early to get upset over someone's assumption that all ADD/ADHD children have learning/education problems and are incapable of performing as high achievers, though I found the assumed handbasket statement offensive. Goes back to the 'all apples are the same merely because they are all apples' thought from last week.

Not sure where and what the circumstances are for a school district losing funding to fair ground research is coming from though. Mom4, do you live in a TIF district that is diverting from your local school? My state laws prevent this so I'm not sure what's going on in your case with your statement. Here any school in the jurisdiction of a TIF district must 'be made whole' (retain their usual funding per their usual means)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:22AM
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PO1, obviously I don't want to say where I live but the teachers' union is very strong here - in some of the surrounding districts top salaries for teachers are more than 100K, and we are not in an area with inflated salaries in general.

It is frustrating because if the salaries were lower, the district could hire two teachers for the salary that they pay for one now. And I know this because when the charter schools hire teachers, they also get many, many qualified applicants - for half the salary.

At SS's previous school, the good teachers were just run ragged, doing their best to try to cope with everything thrown out them, while the indifferent ones acted more like glorified babysitters than actual teachers. Last year we were extremely frustrated with one of SS's "teachers" - any time DH or I went to the school for anything, she'd be sitting behind her desk texting while the kids literally ran around the classroom! At the same time, they were having a school wide push to get reading scores up, so they pulled in every available body to help. The teacher that was assigned to SS's group for this endeavor was great - he had them reading kid's Time magazine, discussing current events, doing further research on the articles - to the point where when SS came home to announce some interesting new thing he'd learned we'd just ask "Mr. X taught you?" Yup. Every time. And Mr. X's area of expertise? He was the music teacher, pulled in to help out with reading and doing a fantastic job. (He did a great job teaching music, too!)

And that's what I don't like about the way it works now - the fact that Mr. X and Ms. Texter are always going to make the same amount of money; unless Ms. Texter does something so egregiously bad as to lose tenure she'll sit there taking up space and money, while Mr. X goes above and beyond.

Did any of you see Waiting for Superman? We thought it was really good; it's a documentary about kids (mainly in big cities) trying to get into charter schools via the lottery.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:23AM
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just me too - I think you misunderstood the side note I wrote "(just a note it was not behavioral issues but low performing because of add)" My point was that he was not a problem because of his behavior in class or was acting out in any way. He simply needed help because he was performing low courtesy of HIS ADD. And, the teacher did not want to help him or even deal with him at all in her class. I noted that it was not a behavioral problem to illustrate that it wasnt like the kid was causing the teacher problems or disrupting the class or anything else that might seem reasonable for a teacher to say she didnt want to deal with him point blank to a parent.

Also, I didnt mean that those funds were diverted from the school. I am saying that schools and educating our children should be such a high priority that when times are tough the funds should be diverted TO the school.

And yes PO1 things are that bad here, but moving is not a possibility since we are in a step family situation.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Mattie, I agree with you on tenture to a point. Ms Texter should be out on her ear before she made her way through. With tenture being granted in as little as three years I believe the problem really begins in these first few years. I don't think teachers should be fully invested until like somewhere between five and ten years and that is with intense multi evaluation methods thrown at them. Sadly the way a lot of teachers easily obtain tenture and in such a short time frame, it leaves way too much room for getting stuck with the Ms Texters of the field. I will agree that many teachers were not truly cut out for the field yet suddenly, bam, protected for life before full ability and/or desire to grow and identified areas for improvement was allowed to take it's course...or not. Teaching our children is an extremely important profession, some people start out thinking this is what they wanted to do and learn they really were not cut out for it...others will have chosen the responsibility and role wisely and excel in it rising our children and their classroom experience with the teacher to creditable lengths. And no, PO1, I'm not knocking teachers nor saying they are the only professional field that may hold persons who too hastily have selected their field and ended up missing a match with their true talents and individual personality to keep up with expectations. So if someone says their kid has a 'lazy could not care any less' teacher, keep in mind it may really be an accurate description of that particular teacher.

Mom4, it's why I did not really jump on you this morning. I didn't think you meant it quit the way I was taking it. Too little sleep last evening and not enough coffee I guess. I just really can be touchy when loose blanketed generalizations are suggested or presented as if perhaps a fact. My DD has ADHD and she works her buns off in school, scores high, high honor roll is far out running most of her classmates in achievement and abilities and usually is the 'class angel' LOL, now if I could also get that ability and attitude out of her at home!

The funding of my states public schools are based on four things: property values; tax rates; yearly state appropriations/federal grants and student enrollment. My state has it's yearly tug-a-war during our legislative session and budget appropiations period. Sometimes it's a matter that gets complex and confusing with the way money was raised/brought in and exactly what and how it can be spent. Frustrating would be a perfect word for it as at times it does appear to us parents as a very broken system.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:42AM
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"So if someone says their kid has a 'lazy could not care any less' teacher, keep in mind it may really be an accurate description of that particular teacher."

If they are talking about a specific particular teacher that they have information about then it is fine, like I had a specific bad family doctor or have met a bad cop. But people were making very generalized comments such as because someone makes 80K he/she is there for the money or because they have summer off that's why they choose this profession. They were not talking about specific person that they personally know. These are offensive generalized comments that are simply unnecessary. "all black are lazy, all Jews are greedy, all (or many) teachers are there for the money and for summers off". You want to talk about specific person you know, please do.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:58PM
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It could be mattie that some districts pay over 100K, maybe some states do better financially...the point is you still cannot tell that that's why teachers in your area went into this profession. That's generalizing, you can't possibly know. I don't know what you do for a living but I would nto assume you went in that for XYZ reason unless you told me.

Too bad your teacher is texting. I suggest you give a phone call to a principal/or vice principal and let them know. This could be stopped easilly.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:10PM
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Many jobs have a month, 3 months, 6 month probation. Teachers have 3 years to obtain tenure and 5 to obtain their Masters Degree. During the first 3 years they can be let go for any reason. Tenure doesn't give them "lifetime guarantee of a job". If they are being properly evaluated each year - the incompetence or insubordination would be noted and they most certainly can be let go. It appears I am sure in many towns the administration isn't doing their job of evaluating properly.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:34PM
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"Too bad your teacher is texting. I suggest you give a phone call to a principal/or vice principal and let them know. This could be stopped easilly. "

No, Parent of One, the principal can not easily stop this. The principal could not stop this at all. The principal, who was a very hardworking, professional woman, had NO authority whatsoever over what teachers she had - she had no say in hiring or firing; all she could do was move them around the school in attempts to put the few bad ones into positions where they'd do the least amount of damage, and the good ones where they'd be of the most benefit.

Tenure may not give teachers a lifetime guarantee of a job, but here, it's pretty close. I just looked it up- in the past decade, less than a dozen teachers were fired for incompetence. Less than a dozen in the entire state, in ten years.

I also found out that my state has one of the very highest average salaries for teachers, despite the overall lack-luster economy here. And yes, I will again say that I have been told firsthand and by others that some of the teachers here are in it for the money. I'm not necessarily disparaging them for doing so; choosing a career path for the money involved does not automatically equate to not trying one's hardest. I don't see how that's any more insulting that saying that some postal employees wanted their position because of the stability, benefits and pension - it's not exactly a secret.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 2:34PM
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"I can honestly say that there are some good teachers. But, there is an overwhelming amount of teachers that just don't give a flying flip."

I think that must vary greatly by school... In my son's public schools, the 'less-than-stellar' teachers were rare -- really the exception. So many were wonderful, and most were very good or better.

My younger son had a few regular ed. teachers who simply did not know how to cope with his disabilities in a classroom with 25 or 30 other 'typical' students, so in those classes, unless and until I got involved, he ended up 'checking out' and semi-ignored... But it wasn't that the teacher didn't care -- just that he/she didn't' know how to reach that one student who needed so much more of her time without sacrificing the 25+ others who were doing well. Even though it's *my* kid who's suffering, I have to sympathize with the teacher being put into that position... It's not an easy spot to be, and there are times when even I don't know how to get through to my kid ;-)

"Of course some districts are better than others and some areas have such difference in socio-economic level and parental involvement that of course education differs."

This is definitely the case in our district. The district is divided into four quadrants. Of those quadrants, 1 is outstanding in every way, 1 more is great for elementary and high school (shaky middle school), and 2 struggle all the way through. Guess how the real estate values, family incomes and education levels differ between those four quadrants?... I fully expect the quality of teaching to vary just as much. What teacher wouldn't want to teach in the quadrant where parents are involved and really care? Where the PTA raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy electronic whiteboards and cartfulls of laptop computers? Where the kids are [generally] respectful, hard-working and college-bound? And where 99%+ of the students pass their standardized tests?

"As about tests...These directives come from the state, and school districts have to comply. Schools don't have as much freedom to choose as you guys think. "

Absolutely true! And a pet peeve of mine. I was the kind of kid those tests were designed for: mainstream white kid from a well-educated household, no learning disabilities, avid reader. For me, those tests always produced good results. But for my kids? Ridiculous! Again, older DS is actually gifted -- but he's also dyslexic and ADHD. His standardized test scores look like a seismograph! Huges spikes and dips -- that's how he is. But boil it down to one average score, and what does that number represent? NOTHING. It tells you NOTHING about that kid. And younger DS? Even less reliable.

Yet those standardized tests determine how well the school scores and how much money the school receives for preformance (or loses for non-performance). So every year, we take 3 months out of the curriculum to prepare for the test. Do I care about these tests? (Heck No!) Are they at all meaningful for my son? NO and HECK NO! (They were borderline meaningful for older DS, who needed to learn how to take standardized tests, but...) And yet every year, younger son's special ed. math class switches from teaching real-world story problems (that they really *do* need to learn) to prime factorization or some other 'grade-level determined' formula-based math skill that these kids will *never* encounter in their post-school lives. All because 'it's on The Test' and because 'The Test' is what determines school funding...

There needs to be a better way to measure teaching performance, to measure school performance, to measure education. But I sure don't know what it is...

Anyone see 'Race to Nowhere'? It's a wonderful documentary about the current state of education in America. If you Google it, you'll find some information and links to pursue to find a theatre near you. Definitely worth doing...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 4:44PM
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mattie, you got to be kidding me,

yes principals have a lot of power,

of course making a mistake once will not get a teacher written up, repeated complains with evidence lead to write ups, repeated write up lead to suspensions with no pay (in fact suspension does not need to be after repeated complain, one could be enough and suspensions are often for minor offenses and yes they are decided by a principal! you can lose a lot of money if principal catches you doing wrong), repeated suspensions will lead to further actions that ultimately could lead to being fired (yes teachers are protected by the Union), but most people would want to straiten up after being suspended.

now of course you cannot fire someone for one mistake, neither you should, but yes there are consequences and no, nobody wants to get in trouble with their principal. trust me

yes principal make hiring decision (in their own building of course), they are the ones conducting interviews. it is just naive what you are saying!

You look stuff up on Google but I live it every day of my life for many years and not in one area!

it is just hilarious, I am going to tell people tomorrow what I've read on the Internet forum LOL how principals make no decisions in hiring, and cannot punish teachers and cannot even address the issue with teachers openly texting in the classroom LOL

One of principal's job description is policing teachers, vice-principals (or assistant principals in some districts) primarily deal with students and discipline. Funny how people claim they know everything what's going on in other people's work places.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:08PM
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you are correct endhl, it is actually 4 years probation, and in our district teachers continue being evaluated after tenure. That's true.. it appears that in some towns administration does not do its job and clearly some weird teachers are keeping their jobs, people on this forum appear to live all in the same area. I can't think of one bad teacher for 12 years of DD's schooling, not one.

sweeby, our state has very tough high school graduation requirements that must be passed if one wants high school diploma. There are no other options. Unfortunately even though everyone is informed about it, many parents still ask why does Suzzie need Chemistry. State requirements, we have no choice.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:27PM
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Parent Of One. You may be quite familiar with the school set up where you are, but you obviously have NO IDEA of how things are here. I would not presume to tell you how things are run wherever you are - and I do not know why on earth you apparently think that every school in this country is identical to the one that YOU know. Tenure here can be granted after THREE YEARS - BY STATE LAW. Principals in our district DO NOT make hiring decisions. I don't really care if you believe it or not. Please feel free to go off and tell anyone and everyone you want tomorrow - but you might also consider the old adage about "Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:29PM
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I live in the state of Georgia, went to public schools, and I'm attending a public university. My mom is a public school teacher as well. I was fortunate to attend public school in a great county where the high taxes do serve to make public education great. However, there are definitely budget problems facing college students. Georgia has the HOPE Scholarship through the lottery. Lottery sales have been steadily declining. The idea of HOPE is that if a student has a 3.0 average in high school, their college tuition is covered by the state if they go to a state public school. Then they decided to have HOPE pay for Georgia Pre-K - a state funded free pre-k. I'm sorry. For those of you who think pre-k is amazing blah blah blah this will probably offend you, but I think a college education is MUCH more important than free pre-k. Neither of my parents went to pre-k and they turned out fine. My parents both worked to afford to send my sister and I to private pre-k as public pre-k wasn't available. Now, with the budget crisis, the pre-k day has been shortened to 4 hours from 6 hours and if you have a 3.0 you get 90% of your tuition covered. In order to get the full 100%, you must graduate high school with a 3.7 GPA, a minimum 26 ACT and a "rigorous courseload". I was in the top 20% of my graduating class and would have BARELY qualified. And parents are up in arms that the pre-k day is shortening because it cuts into their work schedules.

I HATE as a student that the first thing to get cut when a budget is mismanaged is education. Education is NECESSARY and especially in this day and age, a COLLEGE education is necessary. Student organizations have formed all over campus to protest budget cuts, and I say parents should band together as well. Education is what makes a bright future possible for your kids so say NO to cuts that make that education laughable

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:46PM
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mattie you re not working in public eduction, so what is going on there you know from looking up on Google or listening to gossips. For example disciplinary actions are private information and you cannot possibly know who and why gets punished at school, neither principal nor teachers would be able to tell you that, same with who made hiring decisions. You have no ways of knowing. It is not for you to know. Like I don't know who gets punished at a local factory.

Your posts are full of generalized complains (not about specific people that you personally know)about something you are not very familiar with. I don't know what line of work you do (if any) but it would be silly for me to go into lengthy discussions that people of you profession choose that job for XYZ reasons or other assumption what is happening at your work place. It would be very silly and ignorant thing to do.

Even if you think you know what is going on in your area, your knowledge comes from the Google and hearsay, it is not very valid.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:35PM
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