Monday, April 25, 2011

Idiot Administrators In Action - Favoritism Once More.

I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as a judge at a UIL Regional Academic meet involving schools from 15 districts scattered across a big portion of the state. As I sat and watched the students and the traffic I could not help but want to bang my head in frustration. Why is that school districts do not see the big picture?

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

Tiger Mother - daughter heads to Harvard

From the Daily Caller - via yahoo news

"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.