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I'm not fond of quoting news articles but this bears a read.

Discussion in 'Government Offices and Programs' started by TaiPan, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    Source: Associate Press


    Must Read?Yes 19
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    By TAMMY WEBBER and DON BABWIN, AP
    5 hours ago
    news-national-20120909-US.Chicago.Schools.Strike

    Chicago teacher Alma Hill walks a picket line outside Benjamin Banneker Elem...

    CHICAGO — Thousands of teachers walked off the job Monday in Chicago's first schools strike in 25 years, after union leaders announced that months-long negotiations had failed to resolve a contract dispute with school district officials by a midnight deadline.

    The walkout in the nation's third-largest school district posed a tricky challenge for the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said he would push to end the strike quickly as officials figure out how to keep nearly 400,000 children safe and occupied.

    "This is not a strike I wanted," Emanuel said Sunday night, not long after the union announced the action. "It was a strike of choice ... it's unnecessary, it's avoidable and it's wrong."

    Some 26,000 teachers and support staff were expected to join the picket. Among teachers protesting Monday morning outside Benjamin Banneker Elementary School on Chicago's South Side, eighth-grade teacher Michael Williams said he wanted a quick contract resolution.

    "We hoped that it wouldn't happen. We all want to get back to teaching," Williams said, adding that wages and classroom conditions need to be improved.

    Contract negotiations between Chicago Public School officials and union leaders that stretched through the weekend were expected to resume Monday.

    Officials said some 140 schools would be open between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. so the children who rely on free meals provided by the school district can eat breakfast and lunch, school district officials said.

    City officials acknowledged that children left unsupervised — especially in neighborhoods with a history of gang violence — might be at risk, but vowed to protect the students' safety.

    "We will make sure our kids are safe, we will see our way through these issues and our kids will be back in the classroom where they belong," said Emanuel, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff.

    The school district asked community organizations to provide additional programs for students, and a number of churches, libraries and other groups plan to offer day camps and other activities.

    Police Chief Garry McCarthy said he would take officers off desk duty and deploy them to deal with any teachers' protests as well as the thousands of students who could be roaming the streets.

    Union leaders and district officials were not far apart in their negotiations on compensation, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said. But other issues — including potential changes to health benefits and a new teacher evaluation system based partly on students' standardized test scores — remained unresolved, she said.

    "This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could have avoided," Lewis said. "We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve."

    Before the strike, some parents said they would not drop their children at strange schools where they didn't know the other students or supervising adults. On Monday, as only a trickle of students arrived at some schools, April Logan said she wouldn't leave her daughter with an adult she didn't know. Her daughter, Ashanti, started school just a week earlier.

    "I don't understand this, my baby just got into school," Logan said at Benjamin Mays Academy on the city's South Side before turning around and taking her daughter home.

    Some students expressed anger, blaming the school district for interrupting their education.

    "They're not hurting the teachers, they're hurting us," said Ta'Shara Edwards, a 16-year-old student at Robeson High School on the city's South Side. She said her mother made her come to class to do homework because so she "wouldn't suck up her light bill."

    But there was anger toward teachers, as well.

    "I think it's crazy. Why are they even going on strike?" asked Ebony Irvin, a 17-year-old student at Robeson.

    Emanuel and the union officials have much at stake. Unions and collective bargaining by public employees have recently come under criticism in many parts of the country, and all sides are closely monitoring who might emerge with the upper hand in the Chicago dispute.

    The timing also may be inopportune for Emanuel, whose city administration is wrestling with a spike in murders and shootings in some city neighborhoods and who just agreed to take a larger role in fundraising for Obama's re-election campaign.

    As the strike deadline approached, parents spent Sunday worrying about how much their children's education might suffer and where their kids will go while they're at work.

    "They're going to lose learning time," said Beatriz Fierro, whose daughter is in the fifth grade on the city's Southwest Side. "And if the whole afternoon they're going to be free, it's bad. Of course you're worried."

    The school board was offering a fair and responsible contract that would most of the union's demands after "extraordinarily difficult" talks, board president David Vitale said. Emanuel said the district offered the teachers a 16 percent pay raise over four years, doubling an earlier offer.

    Lewis said among the issues of concern was a new evaluation that she said would be unfair to teachers because it relied too heavily on students' standardized test scores and does not take into account external factors that affect performance, including poverty, violence and homelessness.

    She said the evaluations could result in 6,000 teachers losing their jobs within two years. City officials disagreed and said the union has not explained how it reached that conclusion.

    Emanuel said the evaluation would not count in the first year, as teachers and administrators worked out any kinks. Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said the evaluation "was not developed to be a hammer," but to help teachers improve.

    The strike is the latest flashpoint in a very public and often contentious battle between the mayor and the union.

    When he took office last year, Emanuel inherited a school district facing a $700 million budget shortfall. Not long after, his administration rescinded 4 percent raises for teachers. He then asked the union to reopen its contract and accept 2 percent pay raises in exchange for lengthening the school day for students by 90 minutes. The union refused.

    Emanuel, who promised a longer school day during his campaign, then attempted to go around the union by asking teachers at individual schools to waive the contract and add 90 minutes to the day. He halted the effort after being challenged by the union before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

    The district and union agreed in July on how to implement the longer school day, striking a deal to hire back 477 teachers who had been laid off rather than pay regular teachers more to work longer hours. That raised hopes the contract dispute would be settled soon, but bargaining continued on the other issues.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Sophia Tareen contributed to this report.



    I've bolded a couple of section that I think bear careful reading with this caveat.

    "Stardardized" testing has be shown for over 40 years to be regionally biased, less than an accurate measurement of educational progress, and frankly a dysfunctional measurement of teaching skill. As a result most teachers under the demand of standardized testing, wound up teaching the test, not only a waste of time, but a total degradation of the concept of education in the first place. Education is one of those latin words that has a clear origin and meaning. It comes from e ducere which means to lead out of, in this case ignorance. Teaching tests, is like the old technique of rote memorization. Yes, you remember, but did you understand ?

    I don't know how many of you have been in the grocery store of late. Most likely if you have been, you have seen the cost of a gallon of milk exceed the cost of a gallon of gas. Meat prices are at least 30% higher than before the Bush Administration decided to push for renewable fuels. Check how much cereals have gone up since corn production has been diverted to ethanol, thereby raising feed prices as well as consumer prices. Bought a bag of dog food or cat food lately ?

    I like seeing someone who lost his principles (Rahm Emmanuel) on the altar of a budget deficit try to talk his way out of his problems on the idea that people are expendable.

    Have some fun with this, I think you will agree, whether or not with me, that here's another issue where the people who will pay the price, the children of Chicago's public schools, will be the losers regardless of how it comes out. Unless some on has the courage to speak the truth and say that you don't measure shit with a sieve. Put at this time and place, education is and has to be on the forefront of the battleground for economic success. Unless you believe like the republicans that 99% of the population belongs on the plantation.

    Tai Pan
     
  2. fairsheet

    fairsheet Senator

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    As I'm but a 1/2-bit forumite nobody...I think I can get away with suggesting this, without it exposing any secrets or upsetting any well-placed applecarts....but, this one hints me at a well-timed and orchestrated "event", to which the Mayor and the Teacher's Union, are both party.
     
  3. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    Care to elaborate, it's not that much of a stretch, but nothing I saw or read hinted at any collusion between the two parties, and its hardly a feather on Emmanuel's cap and the benefit for the Teachers Union is ambiguous at the very least.

    Tai Pan
     
  4. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    OK -- we can't teach to the test. How can we measure teacher and student performance? I'm a country boy who went to a small rural school system. My performance in school was evaluated on an E -S-M-I-F grade system, and whether I received a E or an F was determined, for good or ill, how I did on tests. The overall performance of the school and class was determined by the annual use of the Iowa Basic Skills test, and when I went to college, I took both the SAT and ACT tests.

    So, as I see it, testing is traditionally the way student performance is evaluated, and if students do well on tests, that is at least one way a teacher's performance can be evaluated.

    Failing that, it seems to me, there is no non-subjective means of evaluating teacher performance. People, including teachers, often say not only that we should pay teachers more (I agree) but that we should pay better teachers more than worse teachers. I also agree with that -- but what objective means can we use to sort the wheat from the chaff?
     
  5. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    Nothing, really?
     
  6. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    Ok and I wasn't suggesting elimination of testing altogether, its part of the process, but when testing success is the prime measure of goal attainment then there is a problem, which has lead inevitably to teaching the test in any number of school districts. You need a qualitative as well as a quantitative, for that you have to be a subjective. The skills and talents of a teacher cannot always be measured by test results. Peer and superior evaluation should be equally part of the process.

    What it boils down to is this, in many school districts adminstrative staff is bloated beyond justification. School Boards are simply in many areas not oly underqualified, they are unqualified. State Boards are nothing but political plums, populated by hacks who doen't deserve a stepping stonejob a Taco Bell. Lets clean up the trash, fix the problems and start over, with the idea that learning is the prime objective. And this time lets start with the ABC's Student, Parents,and Teachers. They are the crucial role players in this melodrama, lets get the politicians, the collie molestors and all the rest the hell out of the game and put them back in the bleachers where they belong.

    Tai Pan
     
  7. MaryAnne

    MaryAnne Governor

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    That is what I am hearing too Tai. Rahm wanted this to make himself look firm,ala,Christie.

    I also heard that Rhee had practically destroyed the Schools in WDC. Bill Press said this and she is now marrying a Democrat in California and he is doing the same thing there. Bill said he despised her.

    I thought she was really great and was shocked to hear this. Bill is a former Teacher.
    You ever watch him,Taipan?
     
  8. MaryAnne

    MaryAnne Governor

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    Those in bad schools that have children with problems out side are being fired and schools closed because they do not perform to the test. There has to be other criteria.
     
  9. MaryAnne

    MaryAnne Governor

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    Start over, but not with private schools that are just there to make money. We have had so many scandals in Private schools here. Out right theft and no over sight with Kasich.They are too busy trying to stop voters who vote Democratic.
     
  10. MaryAnne

    MaryAnne Governor

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    What needs to be done to improve the schools Trapdoor? Tai talked about the bloat at the top and he is right.

    You used to have one Principal and one V,Principal,then a County wide Superintendent.Now you have more at the top than you have Teachers at times.
     
  11. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    The problem with democrats who try to act like republicans is that the just don't have the right background and training. To answer your other question, I hadn't watched Bill Press, but I'll give him a try tonight.

    Tai Pan
     
  12. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    You know, I come from a city that from the beginning had a bifurcated school system. Matter of fact the private (parochial Roman Catholic) was well entrenched before John McDonough donated a substantial portion of his estate to begin and foster a public school system. Private education was paid for without vouchers or any kind of state tuition assistance by those whose parents wanted them in those schools. But I agree, the whole Bush endorsed concept of vouchered public schools is horseshit of the first order. Public school need to be properly funded wherever they are located, that should be the job of a State School Board, and their first responsibility. These are state schools, and children from less advantaged counties need to have the same access and program availability as children from wealthier counties. Equality of educational opportunity for all should be the required benchmark.

    You do that , how ? Stop spending money on liposuction for fat assed politicians and state employees, and you equalize the expenditure per child in every district. You take from those with surplus and you subsidize those without. And you supplement from tax revenues as required to achieve parity throughout the system.

    Tai Pan.
     
  13. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    I watched him the other day for about a 1/2 hour and it didn't go anywhere for me. Of Course he hardly made me a fan by cordially welcoming Bill O'Reilly to Current TV.
    The guy belongs on the late not 20 viewer UHF station in Poducnk, or better yet shilling .001 gram coated lead maple leafs in Ubekistan. What is Al Gore thinking ?

    Subbing Bill or Reilly for Keith Olberman ?

    Guess Gore made his mills.
     
  14. JackDallas

    JackDallas Senator Supporting Member

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    That and the fact that they just aren't smart enough.
     
  15. JackDallas

    JackDallas Senator Supporting Member

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    We need to bust the teachers Unions and give control of schools back to the states.
     
  16. Dino

    Dino Operational Overwatch

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    If "teaching to the test" is wrong, perhaps the test needs to be changed.

    When I was a kid, we standardized tested on vocabulary, reading comp, and mathematics.

    I didn't think "teaching to the test" was wrong at all. All were a good practice for SATs and other grad level exams.
     
  17. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    Nah, its more fundamental that that, Jack. Jack Kennedy once said:"The problem with Republicans is that they wake up every morning feeling as good as they are going to all day."

    Happy Sunday !
     
  18. TaiPan

    TaiPan Council Member

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    Nah, its more fundamental that that, Jack. Jack Kennedy once said:"The problem with Republicans is that they wake up every morning feeling as good as they are going to all day."

    Happy Sunday !
     
  19. JackDallas

    JackDallas Senator Supporting Member

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    Bill Press is a f**king moron.
     
  20. MaryAnne

    MaryAnne Governor

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    In the morning Tia, 6am TO 9am.CURRENT. Then comes Stephanie Miller.
     

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