Monday, April 25, 2011
Observation #1 A large well known school system that has name recognition everywhere sends their academic students on a bus ride of 3 hours to the Regional meet. Problem.... Well this school tends to send their athletes even on trips of under 40 miles in very nice charter buses. They sent their academic students on a 3 hour ride in a bus that looked like it was repossessed from a junk yard.
Hmmm I think that district just told their students - academics do not really matter. It might also be why they got their butt kicked in nearly every contest they entered. When the students competing see themselves as not mattering to the district - they do not tend to perform well. Congratulations **ISD - your message was heard loud and clear. This mentality might also explain your recent TAKS scores. You are 0 for 2 in the common sense department.
Observation#2 Why is it that one step away from competing for state title, that administrators choose not to show up for even the send off to tell the students good luck. Show up at the actual contest and visit the students and let them know they have support.... yea - like that is going to happen. Well it does when it is a 1st round playoff game 150 miles from home in any sport. Then you can't walk without tripping over an administrator or two. Far be it from school administrators to be seen backing the academic students...or the coaches who pour their lives into working with these students.
Hmmmm This too might explain the outcome of performances of students who feel like no one cares if they make it.
Obervation #3 Why are there people assigned duty as academic coaches who never work with their students and yet continue to be paid a stipend? Why is it that the stipend for academic coaches is miniscule on a per hour basis compared to athletic coaches? Why are there so many clueless school boards about these issues?
HMMM let me see
Lets pick a sport like football.
Coach is one sport coach. Outside the normal school calendar 10 days work
In season - lets figure an additional 26 hours a week of work
Make it 2 rounds on playoffs
13 weeks at 26hours = 388 hours plus summer days - say 550 hours outside the school day.
Stipend - 5500$ = 10$ an hour - lot of work for that pay
Now take an academic coach who travels 12 weekends to contests with an average day being from 7am to 5 pm - take out lunch provided - and call it 9 hours
12 x 9 hours - 108 hours
Same teacher practices with their students 1 hour a week outside class time for 12 weeks. I know teachers who spend 2 hours a week all year with their students.
12 x 1 = 12 hours
Same teacher travels to regionals and spends another 12-16 hours
16 + 12 +108 = 136 hours
If paid at same rate of $10 - the teacher should have a stipend of $1360
I know teachers who put in that kind of hours and more and received ....
$250 a year - $1.83 an hour.
District message - Athletic coaches are 8 times more valuable than academic coaches. (Check out who produces the most scholarship winners)
To put it in perspective - my school district pays people $18 an hour to run Saturday school - 4 hours per Saturday. Work 16 hours and make more than an academic coach.
So babysitters are 10 times more valuable than academic coaches.
Then pay that same $250 to the coach who never practiced and spent less than 8 hours with the students - and lazy people are now 20+ times more valuable than academic coaches.
Yea ....this is why the students do not get excited....cause no one else does.
Please note - I have nothing against athletics - I see the long hard hours coaches put in. I am just saying that whatever amount that works out to per hour - should be the same paid to anyone who spends time outside the school day working with students.
Most cities - make it to the playoffs in anything and there will be something on front page of the news.
Qualify 20 students to Regional Academics in any town small or large and it will not even make most newspapers.
For the record - UIL Academic scholarships given out each year - Exceed the budget of all but very large universities academic scholarship budgets.
For every athlete who goes D1 in any sport to any school in Texas, there is at least 1 or more students going to D1 schools on academic scholarships through UIL.
I heard a group of students wanting to charter a limousine for a 90 mile ride to the Regional meet. Talk about intimidating the opposition. That might be one very fun fundraiser to look into.
Maybe someday - common sense will return to administrators....tho it seems that sometimes - the worst seem to just continue floating upward...
if you have an answer - please share - I would love to know how to fix this mindset.
Monday, April 4, 2011
"Amy “Tiger Mother” Chua, the Yale professor who enraged much of the United States’ parenting population earlier this year when she wrote a Wall Street Journal piece about her strict child-rearing techniques, can safely say her rigidity accomplished something. According to Above The Law, Chua’s eldest daughter Sophia has been accepted to Harvard University. Young Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld received her acceptance letter earlier this week and “has already made up her mind that Harvard is where she’ll attend college.”
Catherine Connors, a writer and award-winning parenting blogger, told The Daily Caller in January that Chua’s parenting decisions are “beyond extreme” and could make children fall ill."
Ok ok ...excuse me - award winning parenting blogger......erm who gives out such awards - is it based on true ideas or number of friends watching the blog.
My response to clueless adults like Catherine Connors is below - pardon me - but this one got under my skin.
Oh that I could clone this woman.
As a high school teacher for more than 20 years and having worked with young people for nearly 30 years, I can say that while there are a lot of very good students out there, there are an awful lot who parent's expect everyone else including the school and police to raise them.
Example - I currently have 5 seniors who may got graduate due to excessive absences. In at least 2 cases, I know that the parent lets the 17 or 18 year old stay home cause it is easier than arguing with them. One of the 5 is repeating my class having been denied credit 2 years ago for excessive absences. One more absence in 6 weeks left- and she won't graduate.
Teaching in a small school system with a high minority rate, it is sad to see the number of kids being turned out whose parents and culture instill no belief in education. Prior to the changing of attendance laws, many used to bide their time and drop out. Now schools are punished for every single drop out and face harsh punishments and loss of funding for these who refuse to attend. Schools are punished because we can not convince a kid he needs an education when everyone in his family and his native culture expects him to get out of school as fast as he can and do manual labor. If female- job 1 is to find a guy - get pregnant and make babies. Argue what you want - I have heard these girls in class daily for 20+ years. Those same ones who hate to attend - won't hesitate to show up on campus or at a school activity, at 15 or 16 years of age - carrying a baby and act like it was their destiny.
These same people do not seem to realize that that pattern leads to a high number of alcoholics, a higher number of divorces (for many - this is the first time anyone stood up to them and said NO!), and a rise in criminal behavior and or incarceration. I once taught freshmen level courses to low performing students. At one time or another - more than 20% of the students I had my first year were in some sort of run in with law enforcement within a 6 year period. Ranging from DWI to burglary to sexual assault and even sexual assault of a child.
That was more than 20 years ago - scared to think what it might be with today's society.
So maybe this lady's ideas seem extreme - but you don't see her kids in legal trouble or unwed pregnancies or being fined for failing to attend school.
Has she raised my approx 2500+ students the last 20 years - what differences would I have seen?
At least 150 more students who graduated high school
At least 3 more living who died in violence related to drugs or criminal behavior
At least 150 less DWIs and at least 20 more of my students would have had the opportunity to outlive their teacher.
At the least 60 to 75 less children living in single parent homes where the parent has less than a high school education.
At least 6 more national merit scholars
At least 500 more college graduates.
So I wish there were more parents closer to her ideas than there are ridiculing them. We are approaching a time where more and more skilled jobs go outsource as American students get lazier and more self indulgent.
Tiger Mom may be extreme - but as parents - that is ok - we know her kids will shatter the norms of average students.Her kids will get jobs and not live on public welfare. Her kids will contribute something other than babies to the community.
Get 20% of the parents to move 2 steps in her direction as far as discipline - and I could teach another 15 years. As it is - I hope to last 3 and get out before it gets any worse.
So unless you got something better - maybe all students need a little Tiger mom treatment.
Should you want to read the whole issue - the link is below and my comments are part of the site.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
In a knee jerk reaction to low performance on state mandated tests as well as drop out rates, schools are jumping on every possible solution regardless of whether it is practical - logical - or proven.
10% of all students are not doing homework ...... response - give them a longer day with more classes and study hall and expect a change in results.
Sounds to me like the 90% taking care of things just got punished for doing what was right.
Low scores on state mandated tests - so eliminate honors class for the high performing students - dump them in a class being taught to the level of the weakest student so you can claim you are covering every objective for the state test with every single student. Never mind that you are short changing the group of students most likely to graduate from a university. Do not challenge them so they are really ready for the first days at a 4 year university. This writer awards the AnalRetentive Master award to multiple school boards in the state of Texas following this asinine pattern of reasoning.
And because every single student in the entire system always is perfect and always cares and always put 100% effort into it, then any score below passing on a state mandated test is 100% the fault of the teacher.
With the requirements for being certified in critical areas like math - physics - chemistry - biology already very tough in Texas and only a few classes from a degree in these areas and at least $10k to 15K more in the business world,
The in vogue thing is to blame all failures in these subjects on the teachers.
Gee Einsteins...... lets see how this works ..... take the jobs the hardest to fill in public schools.....and usually filled by people who want to teach.......lay all the blame on them....all the while paying at least 10k less than what many of them would make in the business world.
And the geniuses in Austin and in Obamacation can't understand why every university in the state is not graduating scores of new math and science teachers.
Please someone invent a drug that induces common sense. Then lets spray every TEA employee, every state legislator, the governor, every superintendent, principal, and every school board member with it .
Sadly public education reasoning has become like the IRS and the old fashioned outhouse.
It is all about the paperwork....and most of it is crammed full of crap
Monday, May 3, 2010
Community School - mid size..... somewhere in Texas...
Problem......Community Allowed/Sponsored Annual Liquor Party .
....during baseball season.
Coach decides to take a stand ....makes a contract with the players and their parents.. If you attend the party, you are off the team..... parents and players sign it. THIS IS A REAL COACH!!!
Everyone in the area knew the party was coming .
Responsible parents....kept their kids home that night....
Sure enough players attend the party...Someone takes pics with a camera phone..
Coach tells a number of varsity players (as many as 9 ?) - you are off the team.
Insert stupid AD...and idiot Principal ... Say .... Coach ...this is too harsh....lets suspend them for 2 games.
Then at AD and Principal's request....... one game suspension.....next game (rained out ) is counted as the second suspension.
All the players return to the team.....
(hand slap accomplished...behavior reinforced)
Then after some public backlash.....AD resigns....goes elsewhere....
(Yeah ....hope you do not get this loser.....)
Apparently the moronic principal was allowed to keep his job.
And meanwhile.....the community allowed alcohol party.....gears up for next year...
And we wonder why people think education has sank to new depths....
If this writer ever gets word of the date and location for this annual stupidity...trust me - I will be more than happy to call every law enforcement agency in the area...Stick a few parents in jail...and end this stupidity.
we fail to hold the students & PARENTS...responsible
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
One school district decided that it was time to fight back against kids who were choosing to routinely fail core classes.
So they reworked their daily schedule and added a tutorials time into the daily schedule.
When the door closes,there is no tardy attendance wise.
Miss once per 6 weeks - no questions asked.
Second miss is 4 hours of Saturday school.
Third miss from tutorials in a 6 weeks -
and the districts police officer will pull the student from class and issue a ticket.
GEE!! KIDS BEING HELD RESPONSIBLE!!!
KUDOS TO THESE PEOPLE!!!!
Another school had a problem with excessive cell phone playing and use in the halls.
Implemented a hard nose policy:
If the phone is heard or even seen - even as a pocket outline - it is taken up
1st offense - phone returned at end of the next day.
2nd offense - $15 fine and parents must come pick up the phone.
3rd offense - phone is locked up for 30 days
GEE!! KIDS BEING HELD RESPONSIBLE!!!
KUDOS TO THESE PEOPLE!!!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Medium size school district.... known for athletics in the past but not as strong lately.
New Athletic Director...... talking to a middle school administrator
"You guys are blowing too many of the athletes out due to grades and discipline.... these kids need to have the chance to compete. You need to keep them playing...regardless of grades so they can have a goal"
Thankfully the administrator has enough sense .....however - it is a fact that he who has the highest salary ....usually gets listened to..
Mr AD...... can you read my lips..... UIL SANCTIONS??? BREAKING THE LAW???
NO PASS NO PLAY .....applies to your students. regardless of how you feel about it.
Quit thinking you are god..... and try this one -
students (AND PARENTS) are held responsible for grades...as well as behavior..
(I kinda think the real world thrives on this performance and citizenship idea)
Oh wait a minute - you are wanting to make these guys into superstars - the kind not responsible for sleeping around...not responsible for carrying loaded guns...and not responsible for DWI..... cause after all ....they are athletes....they don't have to be responsible.
(Besides - the NBA has enough of this type for now ....should they run short - we will tell them you are scouting on their behalf)
In the mean time..... school district - toss this moron out before he puts your district into the really bad press releases. School district - be thankful/hopeful your administrators will not listen to this high paid idiot you got trying to run the system for his own behalf.
This guy apparently has more workout shorts than brains...
Take a medium size high school. Heavy Minority population. Dropouts and test scores have given it unacceptable rating for 2nd time.
New superintendent. Already appointed someone from the ad bldg to replace the principal at the high school.
Next up - Reassign or fire HALF of the staff. yes - HALF. Focusing on core subject teachers.
Background - heavy minority school - not in the top 25% salary wise.
New superintendent expects to replace core teachers.
With it evident - teachers are tied to test scores.
Pay is not attractive overall. Math and Science Teachers will receive a $7500 stipend to sign up.
(Actually the salary plus stipend does not make that system pay what other schools within 100 miles pay - who went 2 years advertising for science teachers and having no applications.)
Sounds like the super needs a reality check.
This writer knows teachers who work at schools like this one. Teachers who work at these kind of schools cause they choose to try and make an impact where many others would not even apply. Teachers who see this type of school as their personal challenge.
So ....not holding students responsible for things like dropping out - the knee jerk reaction.....is to grab Obama money - use it to bribe new teachers into the crossfire - and new / inexperienced teachers are going to grab that money.
And we force out or send those teachers who freely choose to work with this level of kid to work on a different campus.
And we are getting rid of the current Math and Science teachers...thinking we will replace them with experienced teachers willing to settle for a not very competitive pay scale, a longer than average school day(singled out against all the other schools in the district), the stigma of replacing people who were forced out ..... with math and science teachers who are willing to be tied to test scores...
At a time when schools across the nation are offering stipends to attract math and Science teachers which along with computer science teachers - the hardest to find in any state coast to coast. At a time when schools within 100 miles are paying as much as 6K above the salary and stipend offered.
If you could snap your fingers and make 1000 new science teachers and 1000 new math teachers - They could all have jobs within 24 hours....
So good luck Mr Superintendent with your plan....
When you are wiser.... you will realize that maybe some of those you are choosing to force out ...
were some of the best teachers you had..
And those of you being reassigned - MOVE - find a district that appreciates you ...and many in your area will pay you more and not question your abilities.
Mr Superintendent..... consider holding the parents and students responsible...
Oops ....there I go again trying to apply logic...