Friday, October 02, 2009

The Gravity of the Nation's Educational Problems

In an article in today's WSJ, titled "How the Teachers Unions Lost the Media", Richard Whitmire and Andrew Rotherham, both whose qualifications can be found on the Internet, wrote "Which newspaper in recent editorials called teachers unions 'indefensible' and a barrier to reform; why that bastion of liberalism, the New York Times."

Continuing "A month earlier, The New Yorker --published a scathing piece on the problems with New York City's 'rubber room.' a union-negotiated arrangement that lets incompetent teachers while away the day at full salary while doing nothing. (Shades of General Motors) One principal was quoted as saying the union would protect a dead body in the classroom." A Washington Post editorial last week about charter schools carried this sarcastic headline "Poor children learn. Teachers are not pleased." And the Times weighed in again Monday, calling a national teachers union "aggressively hidebound".

"Through the growing list of high-profile success stories, like KIPP [charter schools], the public is starting to understand that reform is actually possible." says Joe Williams, a former journalist who is now executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. "That's a big deal," argues Mr. Williams, "because the hopelessness tat marred previous reform eras took a lot of people's eyes off the prize."

The Baltimore Sun noted that the teachers union lost sight of what is most important--the kids. Unions are asking the public that teachers should never be judged on their effectiveness. Seniority rules.

Some day, the majority of people are going to have to (I say, had better)understand that the longer you are in a job does not necessarily mean the better you get at doing the job. Most of the private sector has known that fact for years. I knew that years ago that even before 28 years, my company would be better off with fresh leadership.

The public may be beginning to see the fact that barely half of minority students complete high school in four years and that about 15% of low-income students earn a college degree within nine years of starting high school. They are beginning to see the gravity of the situation.

Nothing new to me. I've been talking, writing LTE's, and blogging on the overall failure of the public schools system, especially in the medium to large cities. While the unions are a large part of the failures of the public school system, it the SYSTEM itself that is the culprit. Unpaid board members running $150 million and growing budgets and educators as Superintendents is a throw back to a distant era and the union bosses love it. Why change, they say. It's working for us.

I'm told that 2/3rds of the kids in Peoria Promise attending ICC on full or partial scholarships are required to take remedial reading. If you can't read in today's world, the great majority of kids are lost. What part of this simple statement doesn't the public school system understand?

The union is right. The system works for them. (when I speak of the "unions" I tend to classify all union members in the same quote. I do not intend to do that as many union members are as committed as I am to a successful system. It's the union bosses who seem to always tend to gain more power and attempt to control the thinking of the membership including how they vote. And you better not let them find out you voted different than they told you to vote. And yes, especially in some northern parts of Illinois, (and other states) even dead unions members votes count.

Hello, Rio.

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