Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Monday, 26 November 2012

There's Gold In Them There Schools!

Public education is being bought and paid for, all under the guise of helping children. If my suspicions are correct, the welfare of children is being used to camouflage the takeover of the public schools by private interests. Access to the vast sums of money spent each year on educating our children is the golden goose they seek. 
    This article was published in Salon on November 17th. It makes clear much of the tactics and ploys that will be and are being used to ultimately transfer our schools into cooperate hands.
   It is lengthy but I have underlined what I think are some of the key points.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

My First Time!

I read about the Newark teacher's settlement today in the Ledger.

One of the statements made was "implementing a system known as merit pay for the first time in New Jersey".

 I beg to differ!

Way back in 1965 when I first began teaching I worked at New Providence High School in Union County as a chemistry teacher.

At that time there was a "merit pay" system in place. I was not part of it because it only applied to tenured staff and I was a first year teacher (just out of college) but I did see how it worked.

The highest possible "score" that could be obtained by a teacher was a five which of course yielded the largest "bonus".

All teachers were evaluated and scored by their department heads, the principal, the superintendent and I seem to remember the vice principal being involved too.

The evaluations were very subjective and to me seemed whimsical.

Those in the English department rarely if ever received a rating of five from their department head. When I asked why, I was told that it was her feeling that no one was a teacher as good as she and therefore no one could ever be rated superior. (I don't really know if that was the true reason but I do know fives were rare if ever for the English staff.)

The people in the math department by contrast, were consistently rated five by their supervisor. When I asked why, I was told that he often said that he would never have hired a less than superior teacher and therefore all were given fives.

As for the superintendent I am not sure what his rating were based on. I rarely saw him in the building and never saw or heard of him observing a class. When I asked how he could possibly rate teachers without actually seeing them perform, the answer was "he knows!"

I could never really understand that answer. I must surmise it was that he had  clairvoyance or ESP going for him.

The end result of all this was low morale (except for the people who routinely kissed up and got fives) and dissension.

 Additionally, I don't think that it improved instruction one iota. Most of the people I met were there doing the best possible job they could because of their professionalism and their concern for the kids, not for the "five".

This is my experience with the "merit pay" system. I realize it was a very limited experience and obtained many, many years ago but it has stuck with me and caused me to view any similar system with grave suspicion.

I certainly hope that which is implemented in Newark shows me that my suspicions are misplaced but I'm not so sure that will be true.

My honest opinion is that  the new Newark contract is just another step towards the privatization of public education. Again I hope I'm wrong!


I don't know when the "merit pay" system was abandoned in New Providence or how long it lasted. I left the system in 1967.

However it must have been eliminated, otherwise its proponents surely would now be pointing to its success.

Monday, 12 November 2012

We Don't Need No Science Education

I was watching "Charlie Rose" the other night and the President of U. Penn was one of the guests. One of the things that she mentioned was the decline in the number of college graduated as a looming economic and societal problem. I immediately thought to myself,  the problem is more than just declining numbers. An even more important problem is the fields into which those that do graduate do not enter? I thought of the huge numbers of Communications Majors, Criminal Justice Majors, Social Studies Majors and so on, vastly outnumbering Engineering Majors, Chemistry Majors, Physics Majors, Bio Tech Majors etc. Do we need Communications people and Criminal Justice people? Of course we do but in such vast numbers at the expense of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and the like?  
Shortly after watching "Charlie Rose" a friend sent to me the photos below. The creativity of the American People, the direr need for more scientific education and a lot of funny stuff is obvious.  


Friday, 9 November 2012

Passing The Blame But Not The Buck

It's all BS just like T&E, QEA, QSAC, NCLB, The Open Classroom. and list goes on.
The State has run Paterson, Jersey City,
Newark, and Camden for over a decade and they are still "failing".
I guess it's because they all have a sh*t load of "poor teachers" who can't be fired?
What other reason could there be with such "educational experts" from the NJDOE running things?
I think what the NJDOE is now saying is "our schemes didn't work so we want you to come up with your own schemes (and we won't pay for them) and if they don't work either, it's going to be your fault".