‘Why is this the worst school year?’

If anyone cares or has any backbone at the Fayette County Board of Education, please check on your teachers out here in the fields.

Over the last 3-4 weeks, most all of our classroom teachers at our school have received three or four planning periods, total.

On top of that, many have meetings right after school or serve on other committees, therefore leaving no time to call a parent, pull curriculum and materials for experiments for the next day, grade papers, look at formative assessments, type lesson plans, or post any grades.

Someone needs to intervene with our school principals. Since the new reforms, teachers have steadily been drowning under the workload stress.

What happened to the SACS plan and reforms that said teachers would receive common planning to create meaningful lessons which implement the new Georgia Performance Standards, time to photocopy, scan materials, perform the endless clerical and administrative duties, turn in all the money we are asked to collect for the school, conference with parents, look at assessments, work on remediation and acceleration plans, etc.?

Given the current success with testing scores in our county, imagine what is possible if these burdens were reduced and teachers actually had some time to work on plans for children who need extra help.

Ultimately, after putting in 55-60 hours at school, our own families are neglected because we must work an additional 5-10 hours or more on the weekend for lack of any planning during the weekday. Why is this year the worst ever?

The word among schools is that principals are very nervous about what the new superintendent will expect. Therefore, this is a top-down, shove it on the teachers to make them test, assess, test, assess, test, assess and make AYP.

Parents should be very concerned that morale among teachers is falling, rapidly. Your child’s teacher is getting slammed with redundant requests for paperwork, testing, posting data into reports, more testing, meeting about the testing reports, meeting about meeting for testing, making AYP, coming up with another plan, meeting more about AYP.

And, do not forget, we must make AYP or the principal’s contract may not be renewed.

Add to that list the new training required for our beautiful new 21st Century classrooms, conferences with parents, required faculty meetings, CCP meetings, and other committee meetings.

Yes, teachers are having more and more dumped on them each year. Now we hear that we are being required to type a Georgia Performance Standards (a series of numbers correlated to a standard) beside every question of every test we give a student.

Who sits in their quiet offices all day and makes up these additional burdens for teachers? When will we ever have time to type up standards?

Perhaps these folks that are able to sit in front of their computers each day could help justify their jobs by doing this for us.

We are not making up pretend test questions. We know we are to teach the standards, that is what we are doing, and again, we know how to teach the standards and test accordingly. We are performing, folks; look at our test scores.

Add to these issues, a classroom of 25-29 students, many with special needs and then the additional meetings required for all these children: They are endless.

So, when are we expected to plan and take care of our students? On our own time, that’s when.

Here we are getting furloughs and pay cuts, having our planning taken, after school planning taken, and are expected to give and give until we give out.

We have no choice in order to get it all done but to give the county and state MORE of our own time for free during evenings and weekends.

We are continuously asked to give more of our time, come in early and work late to make sure students at risk make AYP. There are only so many hours in a day. Stress is on overload, to say the least.

To be a good teacher, teachers need time. Time to prepare for the instruction that we have to deliver day after day. We also need time to talk to other teachers to find out if there are better ways to get the material across to some of our special needs students.

We hardly have time to think and apply all of the new mandates placed upon us, let alone do planning or collaborating.

No teacher has a class that is so unified that they do not have to make adaptations to their lessons. Many people think teaching is going to school at 8 a.m. and leaving at 3 p.m. each day, with a nice long paid summer vacation (it is not paid).

We have many demands put on us in and out of the classroom, 12 months per year. Many have telephone conferences on the weekend with parents.

As you can see, we are a group of dedicated teachers who really care and are not disgruntled and complaining. There is a straw that will break a camel’s back. Many of our best have decided to just walk away from it all. We cannot imagine why.

In closing, Friday, Oct. 15 is a student holiday and teacher staff development day. Do you think anyone with FCBOE had the fortitude, or decency to allow teachers a day to actually work on all that is being shoved on them? The answer is no.

We are trying our best to implement new techniques in 21st Century classrooms. We are trying to grade the required writing assessments with about 22 components to grade by a rubric on every student and then enter them into your Infinite Campus database. We are trying to implement a Standards Based Classrooms with no time to do so.

But instead, the principals had to submit a plan to “their bosses” outlining “more training” for teachers on this Friday!

You should be ashamed of yourselves with the quality of teachers we have in Fayette County. This should be something that GAE or PAGE lobbies the legislators for.

Is anyone paying attention? Board of Education members, please help us. Many of us have quite a bit to say to our new superintendent.

Everyone knows you keep your mouth shut in Fayette County, so ...

Names withheld in order to keep our jobs

Cyclist
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The Atlanta Public School....

board could be marching off the same cliff that Clayton County did a few years back. The testing scandal and the lack of leadership during that debacle says a lot. Now a faction of the school board is suing other members. The students are the ones that will suffer.

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Cyclist - Atlanta Schools

Another failed public school system, when will it ever stop?

You are absolutely correct, it's the children that pay for all this public service corruption.

Cyclist
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PTC Observer

Perhaps someone will come up with the brilliant idea (again) of throwing more money at it in order to "fix" the problem.

Davids mom
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Nuk
Quote:

The "smaller classroom size" argument needs revisiting because I do not buy the evidence that this has as much effect on learning as the educational establishment does.

The improvement in teacher training - and putting teachers in classrooms who are competent in planning for and guiding large groups of students is needed. There are classes that could hold large numbers of students and still be effective - and classes that would need a lower class size so that students could receive the individual attention they need.

You've made good points - based on your knowledge of Fayette County. I hope those who can implement change are listening.

ginga1414
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New BOE Member - Hopefully Dr. Sam Tolbert

I have to admit that I haven't read all of the posted comments here but I do have a little information that I would like to add.

In the coming General Election, we will have the opportunity to vote for Dr. Sam Tolbert as a new member of the Fayette County BOE.

I have known Sam for 45 years. He is a wonderful person and he describes himself as a "professional student." He has the utmost respect for education and all students.

Sam believes that all students should have their needs met when it comes to education. He believes that some students are college bound, some students are technically oriented and some will figure it out after high school. He believes that each and every student's talent and interests should be valued and addressed by parents and educators.

Sam would very much like to see a comprehensive technical program within our school system because that is where a lot of students will find the most jobs in future years.

Hopefully with a reconfigured BOE and a new superintendent, Fayette County teachers, students and parents will be able to look forward to a brighter future. Sometimes there is just no way to get around limited finances but maybe the finances we do have can be redistributed more fairly.

AtHomeGym
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BOE & Tolbert

He got my early vote!

Cyclist
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Learning must continue....

after the end of the school day.

Davids mom
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It sounds like

there are experienced teachers in Fayette County who have the enthusiasm and expertise to instill a love for lifelong learning in their students. Teachers in all schools should be supported in their quest for providing an outstanding educational program for students. Teachers, parents, and community MUST work together to support this effort of instilling enthusiasm for the learning process in students. . . .and a desire to achieve.

Cyclist
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Factoid: Public education .....

accounts for 58% of Georgia's expenditures. The largest portion of the "pie".

Georgia Budget

allegedteacher
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is the BOE listening/reading?

This recent dialogue renews my hope. We do have fabulous resources here in Fayette County, in the form of informed and engaged parents; well-trained, enthusiastic teachers; well-supported children; and an interested, committed community-at-large. Is the Fayette County BoE taking note of the current dissatisfaction from all sectors AND observing the exodus of students and teachers (maybe not right now, but the latter is impending) from the public school system? If the board truly places our children's education as first priority, as they claim, and NOT the love of control, they will address the very serious needs expressed herein. I'm hoping again, but perhaps they will be proactive and dispense with their authoritative stance. Listen to your constituency, BOE!

PTC Observer
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Wouldn't you agree

....that there are about 20% of the students in school that don't want to be there and don't care to learn? That their parents don't care if they learn and don't care if they go to school?

Why should we be burdened with attempting to teach them? They could fill the ranks of our prisons or some of the manual labor jobs that are going toward our illegals. They certainly fill our prisons today, I don't think the percentage of honor students is very high in our prisons. Do you?

Let's try and be rational about this. Not everyone is equal.

allegedteacher
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Oh, I absolutely agree! I couldn't say about the percent exactly, but there is no doubt that there are many students who feel their time would be better spent elsewhere. They do not engage with their learning opportunities and are very honest about their utter disinterest in the whole educational ordeal. And there are adults who try to place the responsibility for that disinterest on the teachers. We are supposed to enliven the lessons to the extent that their children want to learn. I have learned that you want to learn or you don't. I will agree that there are teachers who can inspire you to greater heights than you had dreamed, but I think that individuals possess the longing and abilities to learn and improve themselves long before/if they meet those teachers. Indeed, that is one of the frustrations teachers face...that of becoming all things (mother/father, counselor, character educator, nutrition counselor, inspiration, spiritual advisor, ...)to our students. Educational research demonstrates that students learn more when they are actively engaged with their learning...just try to "inspire" someone to take a pencil in hand and take notes if they "don't feel like it" or to practice safe procedures in mixing chemicals when they "don't see the point." Sorry I got a bit carried away, but, really, if the kids that don't want to learn were otherwise engaged (hello, BOE,...vocational training!), our teaching would be ever so much more efficient and efficacious. I promise to not blog for a few days now...

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allegedteacher - carried away

I don't think you got carried away. The problem as I see it is that we attempt to educate those that don't want to be educated, thereby pulling those that are better and more willing to learn down.

Public education doesn't work, period. It is not based on excellence it is based on mediocrity and tenure. It penalizes good students and teachers by pulling one group down and demoralizing the other.

The fact is that government does nothing well, nothing. Turning our kids over to a bunch of government bureaucrats is our first mistake and assuming that we need to educate everyone is the other. Let’s privatize our education system and give the best students and teachers a chance.

All of those that want an education should have one but it should be the best possible education. Something government can't deliver.

Courthouserules
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Observer & teacher

I went to grade school many years ago and one can't really compare those school days to today's, but there are certain principles that have applied and will always apply that we have lost mostly.

The old nine months of school per year, also with time off for planting time, and of course harvesting in the fall, is gone. We were 90% agriculture and now we are 10%.

Kids aren't even taught to work now as they were then.

However the grading and management system has changed the most, I think.
Those who couldn't learn, or didn't learn, were failed. There were some discussions with parents or guardians then.

Actually most parents and guardians were satisfied if the children learned to read and write well along with simple arithmetic. There was no doubt then about the authority of at least the Principal.

At about 16, those who weren't interested quit school. Many apprenticed
for various labor skills and if they married, generally stayed at one home or the other until they could rent. The bright ones with tenacity and effort often became the business owners and managers. There are many ways to learn other than formal schooling.

We should do a version of that now! Sort the college bound from the disinterested ones and send the latter to trade school, free!

Give them a job upon successful completion and then sort again those who are still disinterested or sorry and dumb. The last sort means reform school to learn necessities! Mental cases to mental facilities.

I am convinced that we can't produce ALL students who are really capable of college work that isn't also doctored for them, and never will.

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Cyclist - I agree

This is proven by many examples of low income children excelling in school when they have engaged parents. Low expectations by parents or parents that blame failure on teachers are a big problem with education.

The fact is that many students and their parents simply don't care anything about education.

Davids mom
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Charter Schools

What is the possibility of applying for Charter School status in Fayette County? Many frustrated teachers throughout the country who cannot afford to transfer to private schools have lobbied for Charter School status within the public school system. Charter School status appears to respect teacher input in providing an outstanding education for students. Teachers, parents and administrators have more input into the expenditure of funds. Not all charter schools are successful - but with the quality of teachers and administrators in Fayette County - and the parental involvement and community support - this may be a way to alleviate some of the frustration experienced by today’s teacher. Just asking.

PTC Observer
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Why don't we

make all schools charter schools. Let's privatize the public schools and let the market sort it out.

After all we all agree that we should support good teaching no matter where it happens.

Davids mom
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What is a Charter School?
PTC Observer
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Charter Schools

I am aware of this, my point is that private schools are in fact like charter schools. So, let's make all schools private.

Davids mom
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So education will be available only to those who can afford it? No thanks. That is not what America is all about. Charter Schools are in fact NOT LIKE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN FUNDING. The point is there is not a simplistic answer to this problem in a democracy - where all can take the initiative to avail themselves of a good education - if the GOOD EDUCATION is available to all.

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Private Schools

I think we incorrectly start from a position that it is ONLY government that can provide an education for the greatest number of students. This is simply not true. It is the way it has evolved.

phil sukalewski
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Improvement only comes with competition

This letter re-affirms my decision to send my kids to a private school. It's a bummer that the property taxes that I pay are for not.

All these arguments about class size, teacher pay, teaching to the test, etc. are all a distraction from the real issue - competition & choice.

It's too bad that parents cannot choose what school to send their kids to (like they can for college). The simple solution is a voucher, where each child brings with them a check from the state representing their share of the school budget. The schools compete to get parents to attend their schools. This gets school administrators to focus on providing the best product for their customers.

allegedteacher
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Mr. Sukalewski

I wish you and your children well in their private school experiences. It is sad that you must pay doubly to educate your children, but it's likely their teachers will be able to spend a significantly larger portion of time actually teaching instead of attending to the onerous paperwork so beloved by government. It is in this light that I too agree with the use of vouchers. I predict that Fayette County's best educators (the ones of us who really like to teach and to learn) will be seeking employment with alternative types of schools. Public education is an overweight, sluggish beast.

Davids mom
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CHRS: Poor student achievement

Poor student achievement reflects more than lack of effective teaching. In my opinion, it also reflects lack of student acceptance of their responsibility to achieve; lack of meaningful parent involvement and acceptance of responsibility of student progress; and lack of societal respect for the teaching profession.

I believe the place to start improvement is in teacher preparation. A BA in an academic subject does not automatically qualify an individual to teach. Students who are interested in the teaching profession should take a battery of academic tests in their junior year of college. Only those who pass at a high level should be admitted to a curriculum leading to the teaching profession. In the junior year of college, students on the path to obtaining a teaching credential should be required to participate in one course that requires on-site classroom participation under the supervision of a district certified master teacher. In the senior year of college, students must successfully complete a student teaching experience – planning and implementing a successful academic program. A teacher must obtain a Masters degree within the first two years of employment and a good to outstanding evaluation before obtaining a teaching credential.

A good to outstanding teacher does not rely on a publishers ‘lesson plan’ to insure classroom success. A teacher sets academic goals for the year for all subjects taught based on an assessment of current students and available material/district personnel for support. The teacher aligns her/his goals with district/state academic curricular mandates. Based on the teachers year plan the teacher makes monthly plans – analyzing student progress and the need for re-teaching certain concepts. The teacher includes opportunities for review of learned concepts in the next monthly plan. The teacher makes daily plans/schedules towards achieving goals. The teacher secures/makes materials necessary for the teaching of concepts.

I have observed good to outstanding teachers throughout my career. I am fortunate to have encountered very few individuals who did not belong in the teaching profession. When other professions provided more financial rewards than the teaching profession, I saw the influx of ‘teachers’ who obtained emergency credentials with the qualifying BA degree. (The ‘teacher shortage’) It was then that I encountered a few individuals who felt they could stand in front of a classroom and answer questions based on their own knowledge and consider that effective teaching. Even in our most prestigious colleges/universities those professors who are successful have spent time carefully planning their presentations in order to engage students in productive discussions – not just answering questions. A good to outstanding teacher is cognizant of the different views of controversial issues – and bases their instruction on facts . . .and allows students to discuss issues and opinions encouraging them to research ALL sides of a controversial issue. A good to outstanding teacher is cognizant of local community mores and parent attitudes – and respects the student’s right to voice their opinion.

Our country’s history proves that we move from extreme ideas to more moderate ideas over the course of time. No one is always right or always wrong. Through open and honest discussion, we learn.

By the way - I have nothing but respect for the teachers in Fayette County who year after year have produced achieving students with the cooperation of parents and community supporters.

PTC Observer
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DM - So?

May we assume you are a big supporter of public education?

Davids mom
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You know what they say about one who 'assumes'. I'm a supporter of effective teaching - wherever it occurs. In Georgia - Fayette County is an oasis. (a pleasant contrast to most public districts in Georgia)

PTC Observer
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Thank you DM

So, that is a definite maybe.

Davids mom
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PTC Observer

You may be a product of Georgia's public school system. Sad. Comprehension skills are sadly lacking if one uses words with more than one syllable. Good night.

PTC Observer
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DM - No

California ;-)

Davids mom
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Within the last 40 years - California and Georgia have not been far apart in achievement. This is a national catastrophe. Our American students are sadly far behind most industrial countries on this planet. The lack of an educated populace is the beginning of the downfall of a nation. If in the 40's and 50's we could surpass some industrial countries in math and science - we can do it again. And yes - it will take more money for education and paying teachers, private or public, what they deserve. Our American society has to place more value on education than on the 500 Index and NO MORE TAXES. There are private school teachers who are also feeling frustrated because of the lack of support and understanding of the daily responsibility of a good to outstanding teacher.

PTC Observer
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Catastrophe

Government funding of schools is the heart of the problem.

Why pour more and more money into a failed system? This is not a rhetorical question. I really would like to hear from you on why you think putting more money into a system that doesn't produce results is the right thing to do.

What exactly do you think the problems are, you are a retired teacher. You should have some insight on this issue.

Davids mom
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Quote:

I really would like to hear from you on why you think putting more money into a system that doesn't produce results is the right thing to do.

Before we continue - what did I say to make you assume that I feel the ONLY solution is pouring more money into the existing system? At this point - I think I have stated that TEACHER PREPARATION and VALUING and RESPECTING THE TEACHING PROFESSION is one step towards improvement. You are so stuck on the rhetoric of 'government funding' - that you can't see the forest for the trees. PROPERTY TAXES fund most local educational programs. When a local school district has to accept government help - state or federal - because of lack of adequate funding from local property taxes - those funds come with certain stipulations. What I hear the teachers who have shared in the discussion saying is that they are so overwhelmed with the RECORD keeping involved with a 'district database' that they have no time to plan adequately. They are aware of innovative methods, new findings, etc. in order to achieve the type of instructional program that will prepare students for competing in the global economy - but HAVE NO TIME TO MEET TOGETHER AND PLAN. Twenty years ago, teachers in some districts in California had the same complaint as they were burdened with filling out individual profiles for each and every student. There are answers to these frustrations - and there are forms/technology advances that will actually assist the teacher in analyzing the progress of their students. Your new superintendent will be able to listen to and share his expertise with Fayette County teachers. Believe it or not - some teachers may have found a way to overcome this frustration - and may share it with their fellow teachers.

A 'teacher' never retires - just leaves the building with a check coming in every month. What makes you assume that I retired as a 'teacher'? THE MOST IMPORTANT HUMAN IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM OTHER THAN THE STUDENT - IS THE TEACHER. All others are there to provide support to the teacher and student. For over 30 years, I supported teachers and students.

PTC Observer
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DM - Sorry

Had to go to bed last night so ......

I don't think you answered the question. No one especially not me questions the value of good teaching. The question is why should we continue to pour more money in to a system that is clearly broken?

More money won't solve this problem, will it?

Davids mom
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BROKEN - agreed. How do you plan to fix it with no funds? My answer? Funds used to: Improve teacher undergraduate preparation; continue with smaller classrooms; (which costs money); improve teacher salaries so that we get the best and brightest in our classrooms. (Fayette County is on the brink of losing their outstanding teaching staff) Fayette County must maintain - many districts should be given consistent support to improve within 5-9 years. I have answered the question. Our country is known throughout the world for it's educational opportunities that are available to all. (Not quite a reality - and by converting to only private education - it will eliminate the middle class). RECOGNIZE THAT PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS NEED TIME TO PLAN FOR EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION. (Hire others to do the entry work for district database) I hope that this is already in effect.

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DM - the fix

You "fix it" by looking at the problem differently. You erase the board and start over with a new system entirely. I propose that it would not involve government; it would involve rewarding schools and teachers that produce results. Students that want to learn should be given the opportunity to learn no matter what. Those that prove that they don't care about learning should not be forced to "learn". This means that we stop using our educational resources on baby sitting services.

Vouchers seem like a good alternative but vouchers should only be given to those with a proven economic need and a student willing to learn. All others would not be taxed for education, they would simply use the money they are not paying in taxes for education of their choice. Teachers, good teachers would be rewarded with income greater than they get today. Poor teachers wouldn't have a job.

It's call the free market and if allowed it can and will work. Government needs to get out of education, it's poison.

Davids mom
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Government needs to get out of education; it's poison.

Definition of 'government': The act of governing; the exercise of authority; the administration of laws; control; direction; regulation; as, civil, church, or family government.

I'm thinking when you say 'government' - you're referring locally to the current BOE and nationally to our leaders who go to Washington to represent us. There will never be a successful organization of more than a few people without 'government' as defined above. Someone has to exercise authority, someone has to administer 'laws', someone has to control, direct, regulate - etc. In our 'republic' or 'democracy' - Americans have more power in guiding their 'government' than other industrial nations - THE VOTE. Yet less than 40% of our citizens exercise this right and responsibility. If things are a mess - it is because the majority of the populace was uninformed/not involved and allowed a few to represent them.

Quote:

It's call the free market and if allowed it can and will work.

Let's take a look at 'free-market':

An economy that operates by voluntary exchange in a free market and is not planned or controlled by a central authority; a capitalistic economy.
Market economies work on the assumption that market forces such as supply and demand are the best determinants of what is right for a nation's well being. These economies rarely engage in government interventions such as price fixing, license quotas, and industry subsidization. Although most developed nations today have mixed economies, they are referred to as market economies because they allow market forces to drive most of their activities, with government intervening only to provide stability. Although the market economy is clearly the system of choice in today's global marketplace, discussions persist about the proper balance of free market principles and government intervention.

No economy is a complete market economy: most countries claiming to have market economies in fact have a market economy combined with greater or lesser government regulation, sometimes called a social market. Proponents of a market economy argue that it is more efficient than any alternatives, promotes fair competition between its participants, and rewards skill and hard work. Critics allege that a market economy perpetuates class differences and rewards ruthlessness over actual labor.

The depression of the '20's and our current economic situation in the US is wiping out the middle class and has rewarded the ruthlessness of corporations and 'big business' over actual labor. IMO there is no simple answer to this problem of government intervention when needed - and a 'pure' free market. What we need are leaders who can truly represent our diverse points of view regarding solutions - and use their expertise in doing what is best for our country - and not their political party. As for the fix in education - everyone needs to see WAITING FOR SUPERMAN - and do all they can to provide support to Fayette County teachers.

Quote:

You "fix it" by looking at the problem differently. You erase the board and start over with a new system entirely.

What would you erase in Fayette County? Who can act upon your recommendation? Have you shared your recommendation with those who can say yes or no? Getting rid of a 'governing authority' with nothing to replace it causes chaos and instability. What is your 'new system'?

PTC Observer
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DM - There

There is so much here that I could respond to that would challenge these beliefs, but I don't think I have a receptive listener.

They say that once your basic belief system is in place that for most people it is too uncomfortable to move off these beliefs. Your belief system organizes the world around you and those that challenge these beliefs are a threat. You are not alone in this trait.

It's like the young people of the sixties use to say, "don't trust anyone over 30". I think I am beginning to believe this old saying. Once peoople reach a certain age, people are unreachable. It's interesting to note that most of the Founders were young.

The pain will just have to get much greater before people begin looking for answers, let's hope that they don't burn the books and the ideas instilled in our founding documents before this happens.

So, let's just say you win the debate and move on.

Davids mom
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I hope there are others in Fayette County who are more interested in action than in debate. Children and citizens lose if there is no action taken by involved citizens. Have a great Sunday!

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DM - You know

You know what they say, keep doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity.

Joe Kawfi
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Teachers Unions

A good start would be demanding that all Teachers Unions be abolished.
They are the poison that is detrimental to childrens education.

PTC Observer
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Joe - Teacher Unions

They certainly are a self interest voting block that continues to perpetuate the fraud of public education on an unsuspecting nation. Their answer to the non-performance of public education is always to fund it with more and more taxpayer money. They won't think outside the box because the box is theirs.

allegedteacher
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Joe Kawfi - teacher unions

Mr. Kawfi, I agree 100%. I think labor unions had their use years ago when employers were so dictatorial toward their workers, but, now, they function to create distance between their members and those members' employers. My own experience as a teacher union member resulted in very high dues and lobby representation that did not represent my views. I also believe the same about tenure; I think teachers, like every American worker, should be treated fairly in the workplace. There are labor laws in place to see to that. Tenure tends to protect those who no longer need to be teaching; those who are doing their jobs don't really need tenure. Conversely, I recognize the local public school system as a very political one, one that punishes teachers/staff for speaking their minds...the least they can do is move you to a less desirable work site, but their common practice is to pick on your every move until you quit (winning through intimidation) or lose all enthusiasm and motivation. All in all, through all my rambling, I believe good teachers do not need unions.

Davids mom
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Fayette County Teachers

Some teachers in Fayette County have made a public plea for help. They do not have a union. Do they have public support that will voice their concerns in either a written campaign or a vocal contribution at a BOE meeting? Is there a professional organization that can speak for these teachers - who appear to have valid concerns? After all - Fayette County teachers have produced results! Their hard work - and the cooperation of parents and community should stand behind them in this effort to be heard by the governing body. Who speaks for them?

Courthouserules
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Observer

It is difficult if not impossible to judge a teacher's effectiveness by the scores of students on a test! Teaching for the test won't even do it!

If one teacher got more sorry students than another, then she is dead!

It boiled down to the same way Industry judges employees, by whether or not their supervisors keep or fire them when necessary! If supervisors, all the way up, are always totally not to blame for poor students, then the problem will never be resolved.

Poor schools and Principals of those schools should require new management!

Too many of those and we need a new Superintendent. Drop the guaranteed contracts for all supers including the Principals with tenure.

Elect Boards that know management, not popular people!

Stop watering down grades and changing test scores to suit standards rather than calling it like it is so improvement can be made.

NUK_1
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DM: Realignment of priorites

Education in this country and especially GA has become a bottomless money-sucking blackhole and there is hardly a correlation between $$$ spent and results. GA spends out the wazoo for frankly poor results.

The "smaller classroom size" argument needs revisiting because I do not buy the evidence that this has as much effect on learning as the educational establishment does. It makes their jobs easier for sure, but other countries with better educational models do quite well with what we would consider University-size classrooms.

I agree with you that re-directing the funds into areas where it is really needed is very important. I just don't think they need any "more" funds and instead need to focus on how the existing money is spent. In FC, you have a very top-heavy bureaucracy at BOE that is dragging down the quality because of the resources expended for some really unqualified 100K+ people.

I will go ahead an name names on the above....Sam Sweat shouldn't be employed at BOE or anywhere else in government with his ignorance of Open Meetings laws(you work for the gov't...you need to know these and they are really simple) and his surprisingly arrogant attitude is magnified by the fact that he has no idea whatsoever that he is doing and his job is redundant to begin with. Mike Satterfield was probably the lousiest project manager in GA with all the cost overruns and constantly missed deadlines on every BOE building project and he is still around drawing the big bucks for proven incompetence. These people are why many are very cynical about government in general and government workers.

There are national, state and local issues all involved in education. As the public school system has been a gem for FC for a while, I think the real fight starts here locally first because the BOE has been awful for quite a long time and just having solid students with solid parents isn't going to be enough to continue in a positive direction in FC.

hutch866
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Dm

The education is out there, if the child isn't getting it the first place to look is the parents, if they don't care, if all they are looking for is a 7 or 8 hour free babysitter then no, the kid won't do well. When the parents are involved, then the child will learn. Bottom line, if the kid is stupid, so are the parents, but it's mostly the parents.

Frangipani
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So, so true.......

This opinion is so true regarding our county right now. The general public is years behind in their undertanding of what teaching is today. I applaud the teacher(s) who wrote this accurate view. Thanks for trying to explain and teach the grown-ups, too.

jmatthews
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County office bureaucrats

Bureaucrats at the county office are killing a good school system. People who were mediocre teachers now receive fat paychecks (well over $100,000) to tell teachers what they must do. The great tragedy is that this bureaucracy and these requirements do NOT help students. It is "window dressing." It MAY look good, but deep down it is robbing teachers of valuable time that they could be devoting to assisting students.

It would be difficult to find a more arrogant group than those at the school district's central office. They spend their time attending largely useless meetings, patting each other on the back, and constantly degrading teachers. They schedule meetings to talk about meetings. They say teachers don't understand and that they don't see the "big picture." Nonsense, we see quite clearly.

Eliminate half the county office positions; fire those that hold the other half and replace them with REAL professionals. Doing so would drastically improve education (not to mention morale) in Fayette schools. Why do we need a fleet of curriculum personnel? What possible reason is there for TWO staff development/school improvement coordinators? (Everyone knows the two who hold those positions were very poor principals whose faculties cheered when they departed from their jobs as principal.) For years this system did not have an Assistant HR director. Axe that position; after all, the number of employees is well below the level of two years ago.

Of course, teachers continue to be fearful about speaking out. Those that rule over us spend their time searching out those that have courage to tell the truth. Duties get changed and class assignments are altered to punish the trouble makers.

What a mess the bureaucrats have created!

aliquando
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Amen!

It would be amazing what we could do if we just had to teach. We are not the only profession in the world to be tied down by paper work, I know this happens in many other areas. I wish I could teach at a private school and still feed my family. I love to teach, it is the only thing that keeps me going.

Frustrated Fayette Teacher.

wildcat
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worst school year...

For the first time ever, I had to turn a kid away at 3:30 so I could take care of.....PAPER WORK. I told her that I was being graded, with a rubric, on the quality of my paper work and had a deadline for getting it in order and unfortunately for her, my job performance is based largely on the quality of my paper work, not the quality of my ability to help kids. After all, we can't grade that with a big fat rubric, now can we? I hope she went home and told her parents that I couldn't help her because I had to do paper work and maybe they will complain to the county office, but she's a real nice girl and I doubt she'll go home and complain. I could go on and on about this but I won't because it's late and I'm tired from working two jobs (thanks to the pay cut) and so I will just write that I didn't sign on to be a pencil pusher; I signed on to work with kids. I am beginning to resent having to devote more and more of my time and energy to paper work. My time and energy needs to go into working with kids and helping them on their way to graduation. So...to quote Lynyrd Skynyrd (and wasn't he a teacher??)..tell all those pencil pushers, better get out of my way....

Sleeping Beauty
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worst school year . . .

I wish those at the county level would really take the time to come and watch the teachers in action. Every effort and all energy go into their students and with the new mandates coming down, everyone is afraid not to follow them. Teachers could all sing the same tunes, but the ones who really suffer are the students when teachers do not have the freedom to put the paperwork aside to work with what really matters, the kids. Many I know have had to take on those second jobs just to pay their bills with the cuts (and no incentives) or time to pursue a different vocation. The teachers in Fayette County are being told to do more for less without being compensated. I hope the new Superintendent takes the time to look at what is expected of the teachers here and where the priorities should be placed.

kubala
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Well said! The amount of

Well said! The amount of work placed on the teachers and principals is out of control. It ends up being quite sad because the ones who suffer are the kids... Who has the time to actually help them? We haven't had more than 5 planning periods in the past month!

Courthouserules
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aliquando, etc, teachers

I have never before heard of such terrible jobs as you fellows have!
Why it is like slavery!
The kids must pass tests and can't be failed, the tests given by the teachers must be leveled off so that the highest score is an A+ (could be 60) and the lowest score is a D+ (might be 10).

Those "specials" are passed if they stay after school a few times.

The paper work seems overwhelming. I don't know how house closers live very long.

You have to be there 9-10 hours a day (175 out of 365 days) and can only make $70-80,000 a year after 10-15 years. Can't be fired after three years, and not before if needed. The pensions and benefits are hardly working 8 hours a day for!

Kids and supervisors and parents are simply a pain you know where.
I want to do the job if they would just leave me alone and not measure anything.
I'm tired of force feeding and erasing.

wkamb
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Great article!!

All Fayette County teachers know that many personnel at the Central Office spend their time enacting new requirements and developing new mandates to try to justify their jobs. Most of these people have been out of the classroom so long they understand little about good teaching. Some were poor instructors when they were in the classroom.

Good teaching does not come from attending meetings to hear about the latest fads nor from instituting yet another program. It comes from careful planning. Yet, increasingly we have little time to plan because we have to meet all the "decrees" from the county administrators.

There is a reason this teacher (or teachers) did not sign this letter. Anyone who is critical of those in charge is quickly branded a "troublemaker" and told he/she is not a team player. Those is positions of power have a reputation for being vindictive. It would be wonderful to have people in our county who wanted to help us rather than serve as dictators over us.

allegedteacher
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shut up, chs!

Courthousefool, you are ignorant. You write as if you have it all trimmed down to the essentials. Your time would be best spent on talk radio or self-stimulation.
Teachers in Fayette County, and probably others (but I don't work there, so I don't speak for them), are, in my observation, just trudging through paperwork and county mandates. (Oh yeah, we do get to teach children in our spare time.) A lot of us are, indeed, scared of the retribution from the county office folk; they are a vindictive bunch. Speaking out against their practices gets you a swift and sure interview with your "superiors." The reward in teaching is quickly being reduced to that bloated paycheck the masses seem to think we pull in monthly, because the evidence favors paperwork over instruction. I invite the misinformed to sign up for substitute teaching or to make a request from the county to observe for a week in various classrooms. You certainly do not have to agree with this disgruntled teacher, but walk in my shoes before you presume to judge me.

Courthouserules
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alleged teacher: shut up?

About what?

All must work even harder to get over the budget thing. It can't be improved by complaining about having a job!

May I ask what are planning sessions for and why isn't five enough?
Could this be days where you don't teach but do paperwork?

I don't think I ever had a job where I didn't have to do paperwork and such after work or week-ends!

I will say this: "management" is always the prime culprit when students don't learn. They either don't provide proper instructions or guidance as to results, or allow teachers not to do as they should!

No difference than in industry!
It might be best if you buckle down and work harder and smarter because in my opinion, more cuts will have to occur for sometime.

Davids mom
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CHRS
Quote:

May I ask what are planning sessions for and why isn't five enough?
Could this be days where you don't teach but do paperwork?

When you speak - you leave no doubt about your lack of understanding of some issues.

Courthouserules
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DM & cyclist

Not looking for respect, just common sense and not selfishness!

DM answered no questions I asked, Wasn't she a teacher?

I think in "teacher speak" that you used, when you say someone has NO understanding you really mean "not sympathetic to laziness!"

Davids mom
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Laziness?

What is your concept of 'teacher planning time'? When is the last time you held the attention of 15-20 human beings for 4+ hours? (Without a plan) - [for 5 days a week] Your questions are based on either a desire to appear 'cute' or abject ignorance of the teaching profession. Stick to politics - you seem to have a better grip on that issue than 'teaching'. I meant what I said NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION AND WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER.

Courthouserules
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DM

I know what planning is!
Stuff you learned in teaching college mostly. But instead of doing it on your own you like for others to tell you again how to teach your subjects!

Also, a good time for injecting local propaganda.

Yes, I have faced many people for hours at a time, teaching! Only they were allowed to ask difficult questions as we went that I must answer!

I see no reason for me to tell you what I think needs to change with teaching and supervision in order for the USA to again be the best in preparing kids for life. You are infested with requiring respect instead of results. You never are "treated" right, are you?

What the kids learn is your respect!

Joe Kawfi
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Effective Teacher?
Davids mom wrote:

I meant what I said NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION AND WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER.

Neither do/did you, DM. That is why students are failing in life - because they had miserable liberal teachers like yourself.

Cyclist
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Gee CHR$

You get no respect. Why is that?

Courthouserules
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Check these Gwinnett school numbers

Gwinnett has 160,130 students.
They have 11,253 teachers.
That is a teacher for every 14 students.

54% of the students get a free lunch. Which is 87,010 students.

33% of free lunch students are white.28,713
28% black.24,362
39% are all other races 33.933 Asian, Hispanic, multi, and misc.

My question is this:
I doubt there are just 14 students average. Many teachers must not teach!

Free Lunches--Isn't it silly to feed over half of the student a free or reduced lunch and embarrass them (they are kids)?
Feed them all a healthy lunch...best meal some get! Can Rice, Macaroni, green beans, pinto Beans, corn Bread, 2% milk, and beef stew be that expensive?