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I agree with Professor Payzant's statement in the Aug/Sept issue (p. 26) that another opportunity like this will not likely come again for a very long time, and that we should really seize this chance to begin real change. Sadly, however, I'm hearing more and more school officials stating that he money will be used to simply keep them afloat. To pay down bills. Meanwhile, it's more of the same. I think it'll take a real in-your-face crisis (beyond just financial) to force the hands to strive for fundamental change.
Everyone just needs to stop being afraid. Teachers need to feel they have the freedom to use "best practices" in the classroom. Then we will see just how "smart" these children really are! Take a look at the Enota school in Georgia. They've figured it out! The big daddy government doesn't have a chokehold on those kids!
No. 'The money won't translate into much real reform. It’s a onetime cash infusion...' A problem is loopholes in the laws written by the people that want to abuse them for their selfish monetary gain. I don't doubt the above statement is so very true of all our systems 'to use the "Stimulus" funds to replace money that the state already has legislated for schools and use that money to cover our current budget shortfall. From what I understand it is a perfectly legal use of this money!'
You don't give your children money after money for problems, and expect them to change do you? They know you will bail them out, why should they change? The same is happening here, we keep empowering the helpless to stay that way. People in power will continue the status quo and make up the numbers to support it. Just like they 'teach' the test now and not the pricipals. Gee, i don't know why johnny can't truly cope after high school. As a CubScout leader, i also see the parents lack of involvement to blaim as well. Remember, there are good leaders for voluntary positions, and there are those for the power status. I wish i could make changes for good, but I can't do it by myself, it takes everyone's help.
Im Puerto Rican Teacher and never in my teacher live I received a benefit of money to my dance program. I have 15 years in the public sistem. I only received a Laptop, and tecnology help. I pay my copies, I wash my room, I pay my folkloric costumes to my ballet that no have money to do the diferent costumes. I never received money or help to my program. When I need a box of pencils, the office give me only 4 pencils to one year. I don't know what happen in Puerto Rico with the arts. Is a desaster. I love my job and love mi students. For that reason I continue my profession.
Brenda G. Peraza Ayala
Puerto Rican Dance Teacher for
Escuela Especializada de Bellas Artes Pablo Casals
I am just finishing my second year of teaching. After 20 years in management I thought giving back to the community would make my heart sing. Teachers whine and cry about being evaluated. They complain that they are under paid. I speak first hand and from the LOWEST pay box-WE ARE NOT UNDER PAID.
Where else can you work and be unsupervised? Where else is your end results not tied directly back to your abilities? We teachers can put as little or as much into the class as we personally want with virtually no ramifications.
Don't get me wrong. This is the hardest job I have ever had. It is crazy elusive and psychologically puzzling. But all the complaining has got to stop. Teachers need to be evaluated somehow. There are to many teachers that dole out worksheets, use movies and word searches to keep the kids quiet. Why are my 9th grade students arriving with virtually no reading comprehension? NCLB????
Teachers who do not teach need to find something else to do!!! The Union and the Administration need to own this fact!
The government need to send individuals to perform assessments of the use of fund. School administrators are experts at verbage to smoke screen the pretense of change. The states will send out samples of "acceptable" answers. The admin people will assemble the stuff at the last minute and then continue with business as usual which means to blame teachers, students, and parents. The only way that schools will improve is for the states and federal government to place the first line of responsibility on the district staff. They are the ones who need to identify "researched-based best practices" and train the teachers to use them. Most teachers do not know how to teach. They would do better if they knew better. Contrary to all the nonsense,there are only three categories of thing to be taught: concepts/information; skills; and habits of mind/disposition. Moreover, there are fully described, well researched, proven procedures for teaching each. Most schools have within their buildings all the necessary materials. The textbooks and all the ancillary materials are buried somewhere. There are bits and pieces in cabinets and closets and storerooms. As a first step, the administrators need to set forth and assemble intelligent use of the expensive materials then insist that every teacher use the materials in the manners set forth.
The latest issue in my state, Hawaii, has been that our governor wants to use the "Stimulus" funds to replace money that the state already has legislated for schools and use that money to cover our current budget shortfall. From what I understand it is a perfectly legal use of this money! Our state is very different in that all funds to run the school must be legislated, each year, from the state's annual budget. We do not use property taxes to fund public education. The governor already asked for a 17% cut, across the board, for all department budgets for the next year. Now she is hoping to help fund the what's left of the school's budget with the Stimulus money. That means much of the stimulus funds will just replace money that was already legislated. The legislated funds would then be confiscated to help fund other state departments. It follows the letter of the law, but not the intent. The teachers, who will not see a pay raise and are facing cuts to benefits and positions, are understandably upset. The parents ought to be upset, because their children's educations are being compromised.
After teaching for a while, I lost my position due to a lack of funding. I subbed for a year and then decided to get my Master's (during which time the district cut my pay by 33%). I took out loans again just like I did for my undergraduate. I'll be repaying them for quite a few years, but it was worth it. I am currently teaching full time again and have a position for next year. Keep the faith.
The stimulus money will probably help to save some positions in our district. Although most the teachers will have moved on by the next school year. Creating chaos and stress for teachers that are already at the end of their patience. When will the system understand that teachers make the difference. You can test, probe, discover and it will still come down to teachers doing their job well. Meanwhile, unions only back those that are weak because the good teachers don't need their help. Schools need to be run like a business. If the teachers are not doing their job, "your fired".
If they are doing their job then give them incentives and pay raises to keep them. Same with administrators. Our children deserve our best.
I could dare to dream that it would have some positive impact on the system in which I currently work. However, I doubt that it will. What I find is that often our system is overlooked. We do not have enough free and reduced students to get a lot of the federal funding that comes along, so we get missed, we fall through the cracks. We are not a wealthy district so this lack of funding leads to a lack of programs. We have a lot of lower middle class people and not much industry to support the system I work for, so it stinks!
I make my part better by getting small grants that do not have the free and reduced or poverty requirement, but it is hard to keep up with it all. Extra stress for no additional pay.
I work with at the board level on sevral programs, while still teaching, and those are unfunded or very under funded, I get nothing and often end up spending out of my own pocket to go to meetings and other events that need to be attended.
I have seen the terrible programs and ideas that have eaten up billions of dollars state wide come and go, so I doubt very seriously that we will get anything but another terrible program or idea out of this money.