Corbett links teachers' unions to failing schools

Full story: York Dispatch 16
Pennsylvania's public schools have focused too much on teacher contracts and not enough on curriculum, Gov. Full Story
JERP

Chambersburg, PA

#1 May 11, 2011
I want to know how many schools Corbett has been in. He obviously has never been in my school. We spend hours improving our curriculum and making our classrooms student centers. How will taking away our funding improve our teaching? That just means that our students will lose music, art, gym, after school sports, etc. I don't think that will make me a better teacher- I think it will make my life a little harder, because I will have unhappy students. I support public education, I am public education, yet on this path I don't want my children in public education. This will only eliminate public education. This is so backwards.
Bryan

Lancaster, PA

#2 May 11, 2011
Corbett sites giving all students acces to private or charter schools. Does that mean any student can go to these schools regardless of admission standards? Cutting funding to public schools eliminates extra curricular activities that make students academically competitive. Isn't Corbett trying to instill competiveness? Cutting funding eliminates needed educators, it does not improve an educators performance. This needs to be managed at the district level, not as an issue for funding.

“Studly and Santaesque”

Since: Jan 09

Lancaster, PA

#3 May 12, 2011
Bryan wrote:
Corbett sites giving all students acces to private or charter schools. Does that mean any student can go to these schools regardless of admission standards?
I think it's important to note that schools are not the only important part of education. Books are, too.

If students or parents are unhappy with public libraries, does the governor want to have the state pick up the bill for them to get whatever reading materials they want at their local Border's or Barnes & Noble bookstore?
Luci

Greensburg, PA

#4 May 12, 2011
Teachers in my district are very aware of curriculums (elementary and secondary) to which the standards must be taught. We've been forced to place our professional judgments, philosophies and strategies aside for frequent testing, testing and more testing. Many textbooks were eliminated and new teaching methods implemented. I'm not against change, but then don't blame us when these measures aren't working. We're not as free in our classooms as many people may think. Gifted, talented teachers are having their hands tied. The union doesn't have the rope. Put blame where it belongs. And...on another note, merit pay is so unrealistic. Am I to be judged by a child's attitude toward learning, or family problems that are causing him to not do well, even though I'm doing my very best? Bottom line: American children are the ones who stand to lose in what has become an educational tug of war. Thank you.

“Studly and Santaesque”

Since: Jan 09

Lancaster, PA

#5 May 12, 2011
Luci wrote:
Am I to be judged by a child's attitude toward learning, or family problems that are causing him to not do well, even though I'm doing my very best?
You take your car to the garage, and after doing without the car for days and paying a large bill, you find out that the car still isn't fixed. Do you say, "It must be car's fault; the mechanic did his best"?

I don't, and I don't think you do, either. If you can't do the job, then I WILL judge "your very best" to not be good enough.

If we're going to accept slipshod work, then there's no reason NOT to replace teachers with $8/hour burger flippers. My argument in favor of paying teachers adequately is based on the premise that we need adequate teachers.

Since: Dec 08

Dover, PA

#6 May 12, 2011
How many of you realize that we are in the beginning of an economic downturn that will make the Great Depression look welcoming? This is the reality that our government knows ... but NO ONE wants to talk about!
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The only reason why we don't see it are the massive federal and state entitlement programs ... that are keeping millions of folks off of the bread lines. Unfortunately, the money is starting to run out as the Federal government reaches the limits of its borrowing and the state government is forced to maintain a balanced budget. In short, education is being crowded out by entitlement spending.
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As an elected member of a governing body within Penn State, I am seeing the cuts in education funding first hand. As a product of PUBLIC education, I have deep feelings about this conflict!
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30 years ago, my wife left her job as a TENURED teacher because declining enrollments left her without a job (last in, first out)... so I know that side of the story, as well!
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Having said that ...
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There needs to be academic competition among schools ... just like there is in athletics. Currently, public schools are local monopolies whose workers (tenured teachers) are not directly accountable to the citizens. In order for the schools to be motivated to change, they need competition!
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My kids grew up in Bergen County New Jersey. They had the choice to attend their local high school or apply to a county magnet school that was part of the Vo-Tech system. You would be surprised how much this minimal level of competition caused the local high school to improve the level of education that they provided to their students!
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This school wasn't like York VoTech ... this school was all about academics ... with career academies in Science & Technology, Engineering, Business & Finance, Computers and Information Technology, etc. If you are interested in learning more, see http://bcts.bergen.org/index.php... . They also had regular VoTech and Special Education programs!
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We have spent sacrificial amounts of money on public education ... compared to the Catholic system ... and have not achieved the results that they have. While I have traditionally not been in favor of vouchers to church-based schools, my experience with educational competition has caused me to change my perspectives.
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“Studly and Santaesque”

Since: Jan 09

Lancaster, PA

#7 May 12, 2011
PSUmba wrote:
We have spent sacrificial amounts of money on public education ... compared to the Catholic system ... and have not achieved the results that they have. While I have traditionally not been in favor of vouchers to church-based schools, my experience with educational competition has caused me to change my perspectives
I can't argue with competition; it definitely helps.

However, private and parochial schools don't have all the regulations of public schools, regulations intended to prevent waste and abuse. If we start passing out vouchers, we'll want those regulations enforced - and their cost advantage will disappear.

Furthermore, the biggest reason public schools do so much worse than private and parochial schools is because of "the worst 10%". If you eliminated the worst 10% of the students in public schools, you'd see MARKEDLY better results.

Part of those kids are in the bottom 10% because their parents don't give a damn about their kids, possibly because the kid was the by-blow of a rape, or because the parent is addled with drugs.

Part of those kids are in the bottom 10% because their parents don't give a damn about education (often because they are dullards themselves - and acorns don't fall far from the oak.)

Part of those kids are in the bottom 10% because they have a congenital problem that makes them a real handful to parent, and by the time the kids are school-aged, their parents are so exhausted, they have nothing left to give.

Those kids end up in public schools, because nobody wants to pay tuition for them. We used to segregate these throwaway kids, and call it special education, but about 1970, we started mainstreaming them, in the name of "equal protection of the laws". It didn't help them much, but it disrupted the education of the rest of the students.

Figure out a way to effectively and economically educate the worst 10%, and you will probably have a solution to the whole problem.
right on

Towanda, PA

#8 May 12, 2011
Private and parochial schools get to choose who they teach. Public schools must teach everyone.

Where did Corbet's kids go to school?
Harl Delos wrote:
<quoted text>
I can't argue with competition; it definitely helps.
However, private and parochial schools don't have all the regulations of public schools, regulations intended to prevent waste and abuse. If we start passing out vouchers, we'll want those regulations enforced - and their cost advantage will disappear.
Furthermore, the biggest reason public schools do so much worse than private and parochial schools is because of "the worst 10%". If you eliminated the worst 10% of the students in public schools, you'd see MARKEDLY better results.
Part of those kids are in the bottom 10% because their parents don't give a damn about their kids, possibly because the kid was the by-blow of a rape, or because the parent is addled with drugs.
Part of those kids are in the bottom 10% because their parents don't give a damn about education (often because they are dullards themselves - and acorns don't fall far from the oak.)
Part of those kids are in the bottom 10% because they have a congenital problem that makes them a real handful to parent, and by the time the kids are school-aged, their parents are so exhausted, they have nothing left to give.
Those kids end up in public schools, because nobody wants to pay tuition for them. We used to segregate these throwaway kids, and call it special education, but about 1970, we started mainstreaming them, in the name of "equal protection of the laws". It didn't help them much, but it disrupted the education of the rest of the students.
Figure out a way to effectively and economically educate the worst 10%, and you will probably have a solution to the whole problem.

Since: Dec 08

Dover, PA

#9 May 13, 2011
I understand the "bottom 10%" better than you might imagine. Growing up in Dover, I saw a lot of those kids ... and followed their careers as they graduated to life imprisonment! FWIW ... I have an autistic son who was in special ed throughout K-12.

I understand the role of family support for education ... and the vast difference in outcomes between parents who are engaged with their kids education and those who are ambivalent or hostile toward education. My special ed son went on to receive a degree in Chemistry from a "more selective" public college ... without his motivation and our support this would have been unthinkable. If my son didn't have strong academic interests, we would have been open to him pursuing other paths!

At the same time, I have a letter in my possession from our public school that urged my wife and I to write him off in the 3rd grade and get counseling to deal with it ... so don't say that the public school systems always get it right.

The school system that I referenced in my previous posting is a PUBLIC school system ... that includes special ed and vocational education! I cited the Catholic system only because they are very cost-effective ... getting results at a much lower cost per pupil. BTW: The Catholic schools in New Jersey DO take on all students!

There is an answer for the bottom 10%. The education system is too focused on giving every student a college-prep level education. Not every student is college material. In Germany, students are "sorted" early in the educational process ... and follow vastly different paths ... some VERY academic ... others VERY vocational ... and apprenticeships are expected for all vocational students.

The county school district that I referenced provides very effective solutions for the bottom 10% as well. Rather than sitting in a classroom with a teacher talking about subjects they either can't comprehend or don't care about, they are learning about subjects like plumbing, auto repair, or welding where they will have lifetime employment.

“Studly and Santaesque”

Since: Jan 09

Lancaster, PA

#10 May 13, 2011
right on wrote:
Where did Corbet's kids go to school?
I don't know which ones, but both Tom III and Kate (now Kate Gibson) attended Catholic schools.

I wasn't suggesting that parents have to do what Forrest Gump's Mama did in order to get their kids into a decent school. I was just pointing out that if you do nothing, which is often what happens with a bottom-10% kid, public schools are the default.
James Dugan

Swarthmore, PA

#11 May 14, 2011
The fact the Governor says nothing about the start up money or the transportation costs associated with vouchers, while setting vouchers eligibility just above poverty level, does nothing to sway the cost of local tax payers in helping to pay for their local schools.
He is creating a two tiered system of privatized (using taxes) urban/rural education vs. a fully funded suburban public system. Save us all the time and effort and just send all the kids to the schools that work and eliminate transportation except for people under $28,000. lunchbreakblog
4kids

New York, NY

#12 May 14, 2011
Yes- that is the answer and teachers would love to be able to help each child grow to that potential but the problem is the EVERYTHING- funding, rankings, public opinion is linked to test scores- not just ant test scores but a test the government developed an has mandated that ALL kids be able to pass by 2014. ALL- no matter what ability or path those kids want to take. Too much time is spent on trying to figure out how a diverse population of kids with different backgrounds and abilities will be able to pass the test.
PSUmba wrote:
I understand the "bottom 10%" better than you might imagine. Growing up in Dover, I saw a lot of those kids ... and followed their careers as they graduated to life imprisonment! FWIW ... I have an autistic son who was in special ed throughout K-12.
I understand the role of family support for education ... and the vast difference in outcomes between parents who are engaged with their kids education and those who are ambivalent or hostile toward education. My special ed son went on to receive a degree in Chemistry from a "more selective" public college ... without his motivation and our support this would have been unthinkable. If my son didn't have strong academic interests, we would have been open to him pursuing other paths!
At the same time, I have a letter in my possession from our public school that urged my wife and I to write him off in the 3rd grade and get counseling to deal with it ... so don't say that the public school systems always get it right.
The school system that I referenced in my previous posting is a PUBLIC school system ... that includes special ed and vocational education! I cited the Catholic system only because they are very cost-effective ... getting results at a much lower cost per pupil. BTW: The Catholic schools in New Jersey DO take on all students!
There is an answer for the bottom 10%. The education system is too focused on giving every student a college-prep level education. Not every student is college material. In Germany, students are "sorted" early in the educational process ... and follow vastly different paths ... some VERY academic ... others VERY vocational ... and apprenticeships are expected for all vocational students.
The county school district that I referenced provides very effective solutions for the bottom 10% as well. Rather than sitting in a classroom with a teacher talking about subjects they either can't comprehend or don't care about, they are learning about subjects like plumbing, auto repair, or welding where they will have lifetime employment.

“Studly and Santaesque”

Since: Jan 09

Lancaster, PA

#13 May 14, 2011
4kids wrote:
Too much time is spent on trying to figure out how a diverse population of kids with different backgrounds and abilities will be able to pass the test.
Take a look at the numbers, fella. White anglo-saxon protestent kids are too lazy to make babies. The biggest part of the next generation is hispanic, because they are still making babies.

Fine with me. Those hispanic babies are kinda cute. And if the white kids can't stop playing video games in their mother's basement long enough to find a girlfriend, their genes obviously aren't of much value to mankind.

On the other hand, you'd soon start whining about "reverse discrimination" and I'd rather not have to put up with that. Why don't you ever THINK before you say these incredibly stupid things?
Steve

York, PA

#14 May 15, 2011
Harl Delos wrote:
<quoted text>
Take a look at the numbers, fella. White anglo-saxon protestent kids are too lazy to make babies. The biggest part of the next generation is hispanic, because they are still making babies.
Fine with me. Those hispanic babies are kinda cute. And if the white kids can't stop playing video games in their mother's basement long enough to find a girlfriend, their genes obviously aren't of much value to mankind.
On the other hand, you'd soon start whining about "reverse discrimination" and I'd rather not have to put up with that. Why don't you ever THINK before you say these incredibly stupid things?
Did you write that last line to yourself?

Since: Dec 08

Dover, PA

#15 May 15, 2011
James Dugan wrote:
The fact the Governor says nothing about the start up money or the transportation costs associated with vouchers, while setting vouchers eligibility just above poverty level, does nothing to sway the cost of local tax payers in helping to pay for their local schools.
He is creating a two tiered system of privatized (using taxes) urban/rural education vs. a fully funded suburban public system. Save us all the time and effort and just send all the kids to the schools that work and eliminate transportation except for people under $28,000. lunchbreakblog
Why should there be the need for start-up money?
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In the school district that I referred to above, transportation costs were included in the cost charged to the district ... that equaled the average cost expended on students in the home district. Quite frankly, the costs of that voucher school were a fraction of the costs that the district chose to incur because they didn't know that to do with a bright special ed kid ... who they chose to transport a greater distance and pay tuition to a private school ... when it would have been much less restrictive (and expensive) to educate him in district.
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Local school districts seem to be terrified that their monopolies are being challenged!
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Since: Dec 08

Dover, PA

#16 May 15, 2011
4kids wrote:
Yes- that is the answer and teachers would love to be able to help each child grow to that potential but the problem is the EVERYTHING- funding, rankings, public opinion is linked to test scores- not just ant test scores but a test the government developed an has mandated that ALL kids be able to pass by 2014. ALL- no matter what ability or path those kids want to take. Too much time is spent on trying to figure out how a diverse population of kids with different backgrounds and abilities will be able to pass the test.
<quoted text>
You can't manage what you can't measure!
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The rest of us working stiffs live in a world where we are constantly being measured and managed ... teachers deserve no less!
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It's about time that teachers are held accountable for what their students learn. There are too many bad teachers who talk about everything but the subject matter! While some may be interesting, there should be a "BS 101" class for teachers who want to avoid teaching the assigned subject! Let students choose whether they want to learn ... or listen to the BS ... when they select their classes!
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