10.26.2010

as I apply for the broad, it behooves me to look at some of the education-related jargon in the current campaign

even though I've voted, I'm armed with a Meg Whitman education plan

the first thing I'm looking up is "simplify categorical funding"

the first resource I found was an article in the San Diego paper, that says it is a good thing, that there are some current category-funded programs which would be cheaper to administer (overhead costs) and more accountable if lumped in with the basic grants, including meals for needy students, some special ed, and especially class size reduction

class size reduction, which doesn't, apparently, alone improve functioning at grade level for students: is more of a teacher benefit as it stands

cap on charter schools

MY first thought, before research, is that since charter schools have greater accountability requirements, there is quite a hefty failure rate (except for some of the larger charter school COMPANIES' schools, like Kipp). What this could mean is that we are replacing a stable, failing system, but an established institution, with an unstable system which may or may not become successful enough to continue to educate the same child through a grade group (preschool, primary grades, middle school, high school).

Now the research:

higher teacher turnover rate. part of this is probably lack of unionization / voice in management. part of this is probably a truer representation of job / pay / rewards for workers in a corporate / "white collar"/non union environment.

"For one, there is clear evidence that teachers with strong academic backgrounds are most inclined to leave the profession"

“The preponderance of evidence suggests that teachers with higher measured ability have a higher probability of leaving…” (p. 186).

attrition is highest among teachers that are new to the profession.

a question is: is teacher turnover bad? is unionization of k-12 teachers an analog to tenure, and should both systems be dissolved?

it is common for senior faculty to note that a teacher with 10 years experience is far more valuable than a new teacher -- for ability to handle bureaucracy, discipline, and grant getting / special programs, at the very least. what about teachers with degrees in subject areas versus in education or teaching? what about teachers / administrators with graduate degrees (paid a differential) and those without? is there a "path" for teaching k-12 as there is for university (assistant - associate (tenured) - full professor, named chair, foundation or institute head, head of department, chancellor, dean? increasingly senior committee work?

they are saying that during the first five years of employment, teachers increase -- a great deal -- in effectiveness

and that teachers who leave are almost always replaced with less experienced teachers

"These costs include money spent to exit the teacher from the school, recruit and hire a new teacher and/or fill the vacancy with a substitute until a new teacher can be hired, and train the new teacher. In some districts, costs include signing bonuses and school material stipends granted to new teachers."

Well, but the teacher then is receiving more money in the first year or two of teaching -- because the teachers are in high demand -- than in the years when the teacher is most valuable to the institution. Clearly, this portion is a wage and budget for supplies issue. If wages + bonus and supplies are larger year one than year three, there is a lot of motivation to move.

"turnover rates are comparable to private schools" -- other non union schools -- again, where benefits are not likely to continue to improve

"the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act mandates all public schools have a “highly qualified” teacher in every classroom. To be “highly qualified” a teacher must have a full state license or certificate."

"We predict that teachers who attended selective colleges will be at greater risk of leaving the profession because they may have better career options outside of teaching. Similarly, we predict that teachers whose major field of study was not in education will also be at greater risk of leaving, in part because their degree may provide more professional opportunities outside of education."

This is interesting to me, since it seems so very obvious when we are considering the history of teacher education in the U.S. Many of our second - tier institutions are from the Normal school / Teacher's college movement. In some states, the "state university" system is from normal schools and the higher-ranked, main "university" system is meant to compete against the private schools, especially of the east coast, which were, after all, founded as schools to train ministers to teach and preach, so that women (and others not "officially educated") couldn't -- i.e., Harvard -- even in an era when everyone was encouraged to be literate to be able to read the vernacular Bible.

"Normal schools soon started popping up in more and more cities and towns. The first three all opened in the year of 1839 in Massachusetts. The first was Lexington, the second in Barre and the third in Bridgewater.[5]
The next four opened in four different states, with the next normal school opened in Albany, New York in 1845, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1848, New Britain, Connecticut in 1849, and Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1850.[6] Eastern Michigan University, as we know it today, started as a normal school and continues today to have one of the best teacher education programs in the country."

Illinois State, the CSU system...

Jefferson: public schooling separate from religious education
"free public education at the elementary level was available for all American children by the end of the 19th century"

"The first publicly supported secondary school in the United States was the Boston Latin School, founded in 1635. Harvard was the first University in existence at that time. The attendance in secondary schools was very little because the curriculum was specialized and hard. The demand for skilled workers in the middle of the eighteenth century led Benjamin Franklin to start a new kind of secondary school. Thus, the American Academy was established in Philadelphia in 1751. American high schools eventually replaced Latin grammar schools. The rise in American high school attendance was one of the most striking developments in U.S. education during the 20th century. From 1900 to 1996 the percentage of teenagers who graduated from high school increased from about 6 percent to about 85 percent. As the 20th century progressed, most states enacted legislation extending compulsory education laws to the age of 16."

Franklin (U Penn)
accounting, physical education, modern languages, english grammar, logic, ethics, history: speech, civics/poly sci, classics, art history, chronology; geography

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