Re: Chicago teachers

1

You're making a mockery of pacing, heebie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:30 AM
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2

Anyhow, I hated rote memory homework as a kid but that parent sounds like a giant asshole. That must be profoundly irritating for the teacher.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:32 AM
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3

Did we decide to comment on the wrong threads?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:33 AM
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4

There's been so much over the top "We really hate teachers! Yeah!" drum beating going on recently that I'd kind of like to see parents get a large scale taste of what it's like trying to handle their kids without a cadre of professionals doing it for them 6 hours a day 5 days a week (that's just keeping track of them, never mind trying to teach them anything).

I suppose that makes me a terrible person who hates children and puppies.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:36 AM
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5

Links added to OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:38 AM
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3: I was going to but I've already confused myself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:38 AM
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I suppose that makes me a terrible person who hates children and puppies.

Not quite. But it makes you a bit too connected to reality to be doing American politics.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:40 AM
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I'd kind of like to see parents get a large scale taste of what it's like trying to handle their kids without a cadre of professionals doing it for them 6 hours a day 5 days a week

You mean summer? That just ended the week before last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:42 AM
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9

You mean summer?

And weekends, sure. But still I don't think these "Down with the teachers!!" types quite appreciate how much of their lives is organized around the assumption that other people will be taking care of their kids a lot of the time.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:49 AM
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10

I think that's misplaced. The "Down with teachers!" types aren't going to be convinced that teachers are working hard, whether or not they are failing to appreciate the warehousing/baby-sitter capacity of teachers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:50 AM
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11

I very much doubt anybody with kids forget that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:51 AM
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12

+s. I should do some rote homework.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:52 AM
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13

How much of the "down with the teachers!" rhetoric is coming from parents of school-age children? (Versus, I don't know, people like Shearer or my grandmother.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:53 AM
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14

Goddammit I read the comments why did I read the comments


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:07 AM
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15

Anyone who can manage a class of 27 first graders deserves to make $200,000 per year.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:11 AM
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16

A friend linked to an NBChicago piece that had even less information on the teachers position/concerns than the npr piece you mention. One might think it a deliberate political conspiracy, except that reporters are usually lazier and more petty than that,. I'm guessing they just didn't get the kind of quotes they wanted from the union's leadership coming out of the negotiations breakdown.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:12 AM
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17

27 in one class? Are there a couple of aides?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:12 AM
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18

From the NYT article:

A strike was not expected to affect the 45,000 students in the city's charter schools, officials said.

Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:12 AM
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19

27 in one class? Are there a couple of aides?

There are no aides. I don't know how these teachers keep their sanity.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:36 AM
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20

I just skimmed the one-pager and the longer report on the union's positions, and I tend to agree with it but it almost all involves more money. It seems like a tactical problem for the CTU to be looking at CPS to commit to spending more money; institutionally, CPS doesn't have the money. If this is a proxy fight to force CPS to get the city or state legislature to shake some more money loose, that would be good to know.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:40 AM
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All public union battles are effectively proxy fights in that sense. The CPS has exactly as much money as it is allotted.

The CTU is pushing for reforms, good reforms, which it almost certainly won't get. They probably won't get the 4% raise they thought they were getting either. The bigger issue would seem to be this extended school day business, where teachers are being told that they'll have to work significantly longer hours for no more money.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:46 AM
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17: 32 kids/class in the Davis public schools this year. No aides. It's insanity. Or it would be were this not a community in which classroom management is not typically a problem. Even still, it's very trying for the teachers, who have been treated like garbage by the state for the past, well, for the past decade or more.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:52 AM
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23

We have 15 kids with a teacher and an aide.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:56 AM
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24

I don't know how these teachers keep their sanity.
By reminding themselves that, statistically, it has been proven that class size doesn't matter.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:00 AM
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24: yes, that mantra is soothing. I think of it often, and heaven knows that my waters are calm.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:02 AM
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26

statistically, it has been proven that class size doesn't matter.

I feel certain that it must statistically matter as far as the amount of time required to grade assignments, e.g.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:06 AM
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27

26: You'd think so, but Science!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:07 AM
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I feel certain that it must statistically matter as far as the amount of time required to grade assignments, e.g.

But since those lazy teachers rake in six-figure salaries doing only six hours of work per day for seven months, why shouldn't they spend a teensy bit more time grading?

</Shearer>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:12 AM
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29

By similar accounting, my job entails no more than four hours of work per week, twenty-six or so weeks per year.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:14 AM
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30

Large class size means my kid gets his one-on-one reading evaluation with the teacher only once a month or so. If he's having a bad day that day, it means another month of reading at a lower level than he's ready for. That wouldn't be so bad if he could be evaluated weekly, or even bi-weekly.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:21 AM
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31

My step-father has over 30 kindergartners/1st graders (it's a combo class), no aides, which was how it was when I was growing up. I remember when after decades of fighting for lower class size, they got it -- it made such a difference to my step-father's teaching. Of course, they achieved it only to see it eroded away again...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:12 AM
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28

... those lazy teachers ...

I don't recall ever claiming teachers (as a group) are lazy.

My claims are that differences between teachers (within the range commonly found in the United States) have little effect on student achievement and that (partially because the differences are slight) no one can reliably identify good teachers. Hence it makes no sense to try to raise student achievement by paying teachers more (or by instituting merit pay systems).

It also is often ridiculously hard to fire obviously bad teachers but this probably doesn't hurt student achievement that much overall. However it does produce a lot of negative feelings towards teachers and their unions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:09 PM
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33

I just got back from the first PTA meeting and they're so excited about having air conditioning in every classroom at last, plus speed bumps for safety that were installed on Friday during dropoff time. Not sure what the stats are on how AC helps anything, but I'm sure Nia is happier than she would have been in her classroom last year when temperatures got to 100 indoors.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:12 PM
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34

On the Chicago teachers' strike, I was annoyed frustrated to read earlier today this Dylan Matthews Wonkblog post, for its composition -- listing first, and at length, studies from Belgium and Canada which conclude that teacher strikes significantly harm student achievement -- and for its title. Given that the penultimate (!) paragraph observes that a study done of a Pennsylvania teacher strike showed that achievement was not significantly harmed, because "Pennsylvania requires schools to make up lost time due to teacher strikes at the end of the school year, which Canadian and Belgian schools don't", wouldn't it be more reasonable to title the piece "Do teacher strikes harm achievement? Only if the missed days aren't made up" ... or words to that effect.

Grr. I am disappointed in you, Dylan Matthews.

Also, and h/t to Freddie deBoer at Balloon Juice for the link, Corey Robin has some clarifying things to say about the reporting, at least in the NYT, on specifics.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:21 PM
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35

I was sort of annoyed by mimismartypants' retweeting Kristof's opinion that teachers should have "less job security."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:26 PM
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36

That sounds like the sort of thing one might retweet to indicate "Look what this bozo said". Was it clear she was approving?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:29 PM
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37

No, it wasn't clear she was approving, but the whole tweet wasn't so plainly risible that it seemed like a hate tweet. Lemme see . . . "Re the Chicago teacher strike, my take: teachers should have greater pay but more accountability & less job security."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:32 PM
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38

37: That sounds like code for the much-pressed notion that bad teachers are hard to fire, and it shouldn't be so, they should be evaluated more stringently*.

It's not coincidence that a good part of the Chicago collective bargaining breakdown is over newly proposed teacher evaluation methods.

*To be fair, some teachers say this too, but there's evaluation and there's evaluation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:44 PM
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39

38.2: Exactly. That's why the tweet bugged me.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:49 PM
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40

33: Not sure what the stats are on how AC helps anything

Just for the record, this is a hobbyhorse of mine: do we really need stats to know that youngsters attempting to learn in 100 degree indoor temperatures are, um, working at an extreme disadvantage, in fact will be unable to learn anything much at all? I'd be practically dying myself. But wait! We'll need to prove it! Cite! Cite!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:52 PM
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41

They used to send us home when it got over 90 at school. My son's school only has AC in one building, not the one he is in now, but that's not a very big issue here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:53 PM
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39: Yeah. I don't know mimismartypants (and haven't gotten onto the twitter), but you should have tweeted back -- in her face! Like, dude! What are you saying, mimi?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:56 PM
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43

Oh, she's a blogger lots of people here like ("Calm down, tweaker!" was her) but she never really writes about politics, so it was more a surprise.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:03 PM
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44

40: For the record, I was totally kidding about requesting stats. I believe as of this week, the whole district has working AC and heat in all schools. I am stunned that it took this long.

I will also (humble?)brag that I went to the PTA meeting and managed to resist joining the executive board, although I did make the most popular programming suggestions. Next year I probably won't be able to resist, but maybe they'll figure out I have no legal rights to Mara and bar me or something. Except they won't because they're desperate.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:04 PM
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43: Oh, yeah, I know of her. Just don't read her with any regularity (except when you all link to her), or follow her on twitter, so I'd feel weird about replying to a tweet in a contrary manner. I thought some of you actually know her, is all I meant.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:09 PM
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44: I was totally kidding about requesting stats

Whew, that's a relief. (It's just a peeve of mine sometimes, so I run off in all directions tearing my hair out: stats? cites? studies? stats? Are you kidding, what? Etc.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:13 PM
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47

35: I grumbled a little to myself when saw that. Grr.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:09 PM
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48

38

That sounds like code for the much-pressed notion that bad teachers are hard to fire, and it shouldn't be so, they should be evaluated more stringently*.

The first part is true, the second part is not. It should be easier to fire teachers for gross misconduct (regularly showing up drunk, that sort of thing). But there is little difference in effectiveness between most teachers making typical evaluation schemes a bad joke. You are just rewarding and punishing teachers more or less at random.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:43 PM
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48: you think it's hard to fire a teacher for regularly showing up drunk?

The battle to fire drunken teachers for snorting lines over their students tits was won back in the 70s. All the arguments now are about firing teachers for statistically significant divergences from average gain scores on standardized tests. Maybe, if you're a really cutting edge reformer, regression adjusted gain scores.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:13 PM
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50

off their students tits. damnit


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:14 PM
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51

49.2: the past really is a different country. School in the 80s and 90s was so tame!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 4:42 AM
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52

off their students tits. damnit

That seems like a pretty harsh penalty for below average test scores.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 4:48 AM
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49

you think it's hard to fire a teacher for regularly showing up drunk?

In NYC (and I presume lots of other places) yes. This is because in NYC it is generally hard to fire a teacher for anything, the process takes years during which the teacher continues to be paid while the union's lawyers stall as much as they can (which is a lot). Showing drunk was one of the examples in Steven Brill's article on NYC's "rubber rooms" where teachers sit doing nothing and collecting pay while their case drags on and on and on.

It's a theme that the U.F.T. has embraced. The union's Web site has a section that features stories highlighting the injustice of the Rubber Rooms. One, which begins "Bravo!," is about a woman I'll call Patricia Adams, whose return to her classroom, at a high school in Manhattan, last year is reported as a vindication. The account quotes a speech that Adams made to union delegates; according to the Web site, she received a standing ovation as she declared, "My case should never have been brought to a hearing." The Web site account continues, "Though she believes she was the victim of an effort to move senior teachers out of the system, the due process tenure system worked in her case."

On November 23, 2005, according to a report prepared by the Education Department's Special Commissioner of Investigation, Adams was found "in an unconscious state" in her classroom. "There were 34 students present in [Adams's] classroom," the report said. When the principal "attempted to awaken [Adams], he was unable to." When a teacher "stood next to [Adams], he detected a smell of alcohol emanating from her."

Sometimes teachers can be fired outside of the normal process for things like felony convictions but this is not universal.

In Alabama it took a special act of the legislature to fire a teacher serving a prison sentence for having sex with a student. See here.

Ms. Schmitz was sent to federal prison for enticing a 14-year-old boy for sex. While behind bars, she continued to soak taxpayers for $164,000 in pay and benefits.

The case inspired Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes, to sponsor the bill stopping that practice. Even the normally shameless Alabama Education Association was too embarrassed to try to block it.

Now, teachers convicted of major felonies or sex crimes against children can be properly stripped of their paychecks and teaching certificates.

Looks like showing up drunk is not covered.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:07 AM
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53: OK, you've convinced me there are some egregious cases out there in the giant USA. But that is not the issue. The union is not striking over the right to keep drunk teachers at work. Contracts (including union contracts) routinely permit dismissal for misconduct related to work performance. This is all about test-score based 'accountability'


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 10:47 AM
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55

Yeah, due process is a bitch.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:08 AM
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56

Could someone put together a list of the districts where it's OK to be a showing-up-drunk teacher?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:09 AM
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57

That's how you get a EdD.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:13 AM
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Seriously. I had fun tutoring back in college and was briefly tempted by teaching but the thought of having to get in front of a class every day made me reconsider. I didn't know you could drink through the ordeal.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:14 AM
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54

... Contracts (including union contracts) routinely permit dismissal for misconduct related to work performance. ...

It is possible to fire teachers in Illinois but it is extremely difficult. See this

Of an estimated 95,500 tenured educators now employed in the state an average of only seven have their dismissals approved each year by a state hearing officer. Of those seven, only two on average are fired for poor job performance. The remainder is dismissed for issues of misconduct.

and this

Not only is it exceedingly rare to fire a tenured teacher in Illinois, but it also is extraordinarily expensive.

In fact, Illinois school districts that have hired outside lawyers in these cases have spent an average of more than $219,000 in legal fees during the last five years.

and this

Even though a blood test indicated a greater than 99 percent chance that Hayes was the father, a labor arbitrator ruled there was insufficient evidence to fire this tenured educator.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 7:28 PM
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56

Could someone put together a list of the districts where it's OK to be a showing-up-drunk teacher?

Well according to a LA teacher union rep:

"If I'm defending them, it's impossible to get them out ... [u]nless they commit a lewd act," said another matter-of-fact union representative in Los Angeles. "I will give it my absolute best defense, and I will save the job."

So just drunk and you are ok.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-12-12 6:52 AM
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60

And even if an LA teacher does commit a lewd act it can take years and cost millions to fire them. See here:

A city schoolteacher removed from the classroom more than seven years ago for alleged misconduct -- and who continued to receive a full paycheck the entire time -- should be fired immediately, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered Tuesday.

The ruling was the latest turn in the Los Angeles Unified School District's long battle to terminate Matthew Kim, a former special education teacher at Grant High School in Van Nuys. Kim had been accused of touching co-workers' breasts and making improper advances and comments toward students.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-12-12 6:58 AM
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60: lord knows, you can't have advocates work as hard as they can in an adversarial system. That's unpossible!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-12-12 7:13 AM
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62

60: lord knows, you can't have advocates work as hard as they can in an adversarial system. That's unpossible!

The problem isn't that the union rep is working hard, the problem is the system is set up so he often wins when he shouldn't. Probably he agrees which is why he is giving out inflamatory (albeit) anonymous quotes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-12-12 7:23 AM
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