February 21, 2007

Steve Jobs?

Total stud/god.

Posted by Attila Girl at February 21, 2007 01:54 AM | TrackBack

thanks for pointing that one out. Interesting comments section.

Posted by: caltechgirl at February 21, 2007 12:23 PM

funny stuff...

Posted by: Butch at February 21, 2007 07:00 PM

Did you read about Michael Dell acting all wishy-washy. He certainly didn't want to rock the boat in front of potential customers.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at February 21, 2007 09:14 PM

As someone who will be looking to switch to teaching as my profession, I'm interested in this debate.

Jobs is right in that it should be easier to fire an incompetent teacher.

However, it needs to be just as easy to remove a disruptive student from a class, and to flunk a student who doesn't learn anything. Until those things happen, making the teacher bear the responsibility for success is the very picture of scapegoating.

Posted by: John at February 22, 2007 06:17 PM

But there have always been teachers who went into the profession just to get a job, and regard themselves as nothing more than glorified baby-sitters. They have no business being there: it's too tough a job for wimps and idiots.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 22, 2007 07:50 PM

I say give teachers tasers.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at February 22, 2007 10:50 PM

AtG: Yes, there are teachers who have no intention of teaching; however, giving teachers responsibility that exceeds their authority is a recipe for failure. Teaching requires that the student be ready to learn, and also that the environment be conducive to learning. Until those two conditions are both met, it is pure guesswork to tell whether educational failure is the teacher's fault or somebody else's; and the best way to ensure that those conditions are met is to remove the disruptive and allow the indolent to be failed.

And I am persuaded that granting that authority will enable us to swiftly ID the teachers who aren't interested in teaching; I expect that the NEA will fight to prevent these measures from being instituted.

Posted by: John at February 23, 2007 07:30 PM

Yes fire the teachers and hire some engineers, or lawyers or doctors, except who can afford to pay any other professional the salary that they may demand.
There is a shortage of teachers and the way schools are becoming not many are joining the profession. Teachers who leave the profession to go into sales, or management or open up their own business and make a lot more money. If you want to use the demand and supply model get the tax payers to pay a higher wage for competent teachers, so engineers and lawyers start choosing a different profession, one that is perhaps more satisfying.

Posted by: azmat hussain at February 24, 2007 10:02 PM

Sure. But the pivotal phrase in what you wrote is "competent teachers." Many are not.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 24, 2007 11:25 PM

And how do you decide what is competent? By the achievement scores? It is not a good measure of competence. Give the best teachers to the worst possible students and see how they do with achievement scores. Or take your worst teachers and put them in high achieving schools, these teachers will become competent overnight. The competence is already defined by education.

Posted by: azmat hussain at February 25, 2007 08:43 PM

The ancients used the "sink or float" method to determine....Errr...Strike that. That was for witches.

Or those who wrote "The competence is already defined by education."

Posted by: Darrell at February 25, 2007 10:52 PM

Well, the evaluation of the teacher must be in the context of how hard the job is, just as it would be in a private company.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 26, 2007 10:43 AM

How hard the job is? Is not a well defined.
On any given day some child can have a tantrum, throw a fit and have an attitude. All teachers are caring and compassionate individuals who take care of the needs of individuals and the whole. They are trained professionals. Now throw in the mix some serious poverty issues, drugs, alcohol, divorce, single parents, and all kinds of mental and physical health issues, along with a Government which has no trouble spending 300 billion in Iraq, but has a hard time coming up with an extra billion at home. Then turn around and blame some individual for his or her incompetence. Huh?

The incompetence is not with someone who has spent four years in teacher training. The incompetence lies with those who have created that individual and those that have created the environment that is not conducive to this individuals success.

The Irony is that you find educated people who owe it to teachers, complaining the most. These are the same people who would not survive a single day in the classroom, but claim to know how to evaluate a given situation or a teacher based on what? The bottomline called achievement scores: Kind of like how productive an employee is and how we can measure that with time and motion studies.

Well Attila and Darrell, maybe you can think about this subject for a while, and come up with response. The best response would be that Darrell use his education in a positive manner and go and volunteer in a school. And Attila, I know you are just glad to be out of school, so I would not ask you to go back, but you can use your writing skills to enlighten the masses. Maybe write a story or two, that makes a positive contribution, how about stories that children would enjoy reading? Trust me they need good role models like you.

Posted by: Azmat Hussain at February 26, 2007 08:17 PM

I try to educate you each time you visit, Azmat, but to no avail. I can repeat what I've said but I can't make you comprehend.

Sorry to make you wrong, once again, but I taught college courses in the 80's, and professional courses on and off since. I helped enough of my classmates in grade school and high school to feel that I have some experience there too. Plus co-workers getting everything from GEDs to graduate degrees over the last thirty years. All the latter, of course, without any compensation. So what's your point?

In the real world, we are tested daily. My research career is dependent upon the successful completion of my next project. Results determine competence, not some long-ago degree. What degrees did that California School Board head have? You know the one that couldn't pass the basic English reading comprehension test a few years ago, after multiple tries? What's wrong with testing teachers in their subjects? Maybe that will end the practice of assigning a teacher to classes outside of their areas of expertise/competency just to keep them around. Of course, with an agenda-driven science curriculum, maybe people with a real science background aren't the best fit. Conversely, maybe teachers with a political science background are the best fit for those BDS art classes. "Teacher, I ran out of swastikas for my BuShitHitler collage, got any more?" "Right here!"

Posted by: Darrell at February 26, 2007 09:49 PM

I am one of the very few non-teachers in my family--probably because my mother told me "don't you dare!"

It's very, very hard work, and at the grade school/junior high level, it's sorely lacking in prestige.

But I'd still rather cull the herd of some of those idiots in the faculty lounge--the "place holders," and don't pretend you don't know they are there--rather than throw more money at the problem.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 26, 2007 11:16 PM

Darrell, I am way over qualified for my job as a middle school teacher. I have taught in High School and Colleges. I can teach Calculus. So it would really be stupid of someone to try to test me in my subject area. And it would not prove anything. And yes for your licensure you do have to take those tests on a regular basis. And in the education community they are somewhat of a joke. Now if you test me on my typing ability or my english, hey I might easily flunk those as you have proved several times over.

On the other hand there is no test out there for what I do find challenging. That is how to reach kids who are at risk. How to generate compassion in the face of defiance and anger. What to do with the social ills, drugs, crime and poverty.
There are no immediate results here for me only long range results. I hope that someday twenty years from now when I am on a cruise one of my students will recognize me and remind me that I was kind and compassionate and fostered a climate of critical thinking.

And yes Darrell you are wrong about that long forgotten degree, you see in math you cannot go forward if you forgot what you learnt. In math competence is the sum total of what you have learnt.

Please continue to educate me Darrell, I think I am learning lots from you, I am also seeing how we can correct misguided thinking. Now I wish I could somehow make a difference in your attitude, but hey maybe you have had a rough life. And as to your obsession with Bush it is about to come to an end very soon.

Posted by: Azmat Hussain at February 27, 2007 05:30 PM

My obsession with Bush? Better recount the number of times each of us have mentioned him.

I'll stipulate that you are qualified to teach math--I know they didn't hire you for your good looks alone. Just because you are, are you telling me that every teacher is competent in their subject area? I've met quite a few who weren't. And many others that just go through the motions, essentially giving the same class for years. What's the harm in testing? Throwing money at teachers isn't the answer. Why were some of the best results in the last thirty years attained at parochial schools where salaries of $8000/year were common not that long ago? I know that they can expel troublemakers, but that alone does not account for the difference. Maybe some one should look at the curricula. And all those "new ideas' implemented by the NEA and their counterparts. Maybe Johnny can't read because no one ever told him he couldn't.

Do you allow calculators in your school? Remember these are the years that all those neural networks and pathways are being established. Save the calculators for college. My tip of the day. (Oh, and teach those student the trick of giving change in a business transaction--count up from the purchase total to the amount tendered, e.g., if the purchase total is 89 cents and the customer gives you a dollar, start with the 89 cents, add a penny to reach 90 cents, then give back a dime to equal $1. It's amazing how many people can't do that when the cash register doesn't tell them.)

Posted by: Darrell at February 27, 2007 09:28 PM


Yes you are right, there is always one with a poor attitude, or a racist, but hanging around other leaders, it does not take long to transform them. Now yes there are some really stubborn, egotistical, arrogant, teachers, who are really hard to transform. But if you send them to enough professional development conferences it is bound to make a dent. That is why i keep trying with Darrell, he might not be able to go to the NCTM website, but by talking to me he will find out that calculators have become part of life just like computers have and other technology. These students might not be able to make change a certain way, but they are exposed to excel, and word, and know how to draw graphs and charts on the computer. They are also doing pre-algebra in 6th grade.
By the way there is no lounge, there is a small lunch room, and it is only hard work if you see it that way. I prefer to call it exciting and challenging. The day it becomes routine, I will quit. I have never taught the same class twice, each class is unique, requiring, innovative techniques. I don't keep any lessons to be used over or any tests that I can use next year. Because I know I will have new students with different requirements. If I go through the motions, the kids would be eating me for lunch. You have got to be alive and awake to what is going on around you, can't be on auto-pilot.
By the way those teacher tests cost $200. After getting your masters or PhD. If you are asked to do a high school level test that will test to see if you know what an adjective is? Attila, I am sure you would find that ridiculous.
And here is the level of thinking that we are dealing with: "Throwing money at teachers isn't the answer. Why were some of the best results in the last thirty years attained at parochial schools where salaries of $8000/year were common not that long ago? "
I wont trust my kids in such an environment where people are being ripped-off, and not getting paid what they deserve.

Posted by: Azmat Hussain at February 28, 2007 07:20 PM

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