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[ale] a specter is haunting our school systems!

On Thu, 11 Dec 2008, Geoffrey wrote:

> tom wrote:
>> On Wed, 10 Dec 2008, Jim Popovitch wrote:
>>> On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 18:30, Jim Philips <philips_jim at bellsouth.net> wrote:
>>>> Maybe this concerned teacher should get a job as a droid for the Business
>>>> Software Alliance.
>>> The reality is that "concerned" is more likely to be less on that
>>> teachers agenda than "making ends meet".  If that teacher made more $,
>>> then they would have more time to have a more open mind.   As it is
>>> today, teachers can barely make ends meet, so they take all the
>>> talking points and assistance they can get.   Free the teachers so
>>> they can free your kids' minds. ;-)
>> Well, I'm not really going to disagree that strongly, but getting the work
>> load down might have a more positive effect. Spend 10 hours a day trying
>> to be smarter than a bunch of kids, and you will be too tired to actually
>> be learning new tech stuff yourself.
> You underestimate the time spent, but it's more accurate then most folks
> know.

I know that I underestimated the time spent by our better teachers.

>> Well, that and I'm not entirely sure that many of them would care even if
>> they were less stretched. Most of us go through life working on sound
>> bites and blinkered minds. After all, it is easier.
> If parents would do THEIR JOB, the teachers could focus on teaching.
> Instead, the teachers are busy being parent, nurse, psychologist, and
> document processor.  What little time is left, they teach.

I'll stand behind what I said before, as I have some experience on both 
sides. Both parents were teachers, a brother teaches, a sister-in-law 
taught before becoming a principle (now retired), one daughter is 
teaching, and I'm enjoying an adjunct gig myself. Of four children, two 
got labeled gifted, and two got handed learning disablility labels. (Which 
is better than one friend. Of her four, all four managed to be certified 
advanced and gifted in addition to learning disabilities.)

I'm not so bold as to claim inerrant truth. My experience suggests to me 
that many educators are not open minded searchers for truth, justice, 
apple pie, etc ad nauseum. Teachers are drawn from the general culture, 
and largely reflect that culture. And then they are placed under the thumb 
of lawyers, paper pushers, and politicians with orders to do and excellent 

I'll leave off picking on lawyers for now. The profession may be 
necessary, and I beleive that it is, but I don't think that they help the 
cause of education.

The paper pushers appear to collect from the ranks of teachers who cann't 
teach, so they get sent downtown to get them away from students. (Obvious 
over simplification here.) But these people take up resources, come up 
with unfundable brilliant ideas which get passed out to the troops without 
any training, and often get in the way. These are the people who decide 
that new laptops will be a wonderful tool, and utterly forget to arrainge 
meaningful levels of training, or even any time to fiddle and self teach.

The less said about many school boards the better.  These people are 
elected to look after the public business, but they often come with 
popular adgendas which have nothing to do with education, or are 
incompatible with education. Plus they get points for cutting limited 
resources in the name of budget balancing, usually at the classroom level 
it seems.

I will conceed part of the point that parents need to parent their little 
darlings better. I will even accept that I should have done a better job 
with my four. I strongly disagree that parental involvement is "the key". 
Partly because I've listened to that complaint for at least the last 40 
years and nothing changes.

My appologies to the innocent of the list. I appreciate the gift of your