Thursday, May 04, 2006

Now about this "Tenure" thing...

It seems that those highly educated professors have come out with the results of their survey on how President Bush will be rated in history. A survey conducted by Siena College Research Institute has determined, before the President is even out of office, that he will be ranked #23 out of the 42 Presidents we have had. This is actually pretty good compared to the headlines I saw that said "President Bush is rated worst President ever"... Fortunately our President does not govern by polls as compared to a "Slick" guy we know who did in the recent decade...

Saw an interesting survey today that made me think about these "Prefessors"...
It seems that another survey has come out about how well our children are being educated in a system that invests more $$$ per student then any other country... The Tribune media reports the following results to the survey:

The National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs geography survey of young adult Americans found:- Only 37 percent could identify Iraq on a map of the Middle East.

* 69% of the students could identify China on a map...

* With India being in the news so much lately because "Many American Jobs are going to India" 47% of students could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map...

* 75% of students could not find Israel on a map of the middle east...

* 60% of students did not know the importance of the border between North & South Korea and that it is the most heavily fortified in the world. 37% thought the border between the United States and Mexico was the most fortified...

* Two-thirds didn't know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.

The article that I saw recently said that we spend about $13,000 per student each year to educate them and these are the results of that education system? It is also interesting that in the free market if you do not produce you will be removed from your job and replaced by somebody who can do the job... It's Ironic that most of these professors are "Tenured" and cannot be removed from their positions even with results like the above...

If anybody happens to see a survey go by on how we should rate the education system please send it my way...


zen said...

I believe you are mixing up secondary and primary educational systems. "Professors" teach in colleges and can earn tenure. I don't think colleges are under the stat you cite of $13k per student/year. Apples and oranges.

I find it amazing that the 'accountability' program mandated by Bush is an obvious failure—SOLs. I've yet to meet one person, parent, teacher or otherwise, that believes SOLs are improving education.

By the way, one doesn't need to be a "highly educated professor" to recognize Bush is a failure.

"Reality has a well known Liberal Bias." --Stephen Colbert.

Anonymous said...

If we didn't have SOLs what would we have? Passing SOLs are like getting a C. They are the least a kid should know to get a passing grade. No teachers don't like them but my question is why?

zen said...

SOLs do not teach children to learn. They do not promote creative problem solving. All they do is facilitate memorization without any context or logical reference.

Bubba said...

At least SOL's are some attempt to make the schools accountable for how they teach. But in a nutshell they are still Govmt schools. Want a good education system? Get rid of the union and make the money follow the children. Inspire competition in the system and that will drive the process and get results.

SWAC Girl said...

Bubba, I can go one better. Want a better education? Home school.

Teach your children what they need to know and be sure to include American government and history. After 16 years of educating my children at home my youngest graduates in June and plans to attend community college in the transfer program to a four-year university. My oldest is a rising senior at a 4-year university double-majoring in computer science and English. Our classroom had the Ten Commandments and the Pledge of Allegiance posted, a Bible, and an American flag.

SOLs were created when there was much harping about accountability. They put accountability in place and there was more harping. To home school we are required to administer standardized tests every year to our children (CAT, Iowa, Stanford, etc.), and they must achieve at least the 4th stanine or they can be put on probation by the school superintendent. It's "accountability" to show progress. What's the problem with that?

RightsideVA said...

Thought this would be a good topic and get some comments...

"I find it amazing that the 'accountability' program mandated by Bush is an obvious failure—SOLs."

How is setting standards of learning a failure? It is obvious that the present education system is a failure at times. Remember when they started testing the teachers and found that there were many that could not pass the basic knowledge tests that they were giving. Gotta find that story and post it...

Basic standards testing wrong? I worked for a major retail company and had a 18-20 year old cashier on her first day ask me how many quarters were in a dollar? And she graduated high school?

""Reality has a well known Liberal Bias." --Stephen Colbert."

Is this the same loser that is on Comedy Channel and part of the Jon Stewart show?

How is "Creative Problem Solving any good without basic knowledge?

If school vouchers is such a bad thing why have they worked were used?

SWAC Girl said...

BTW, I don't believe President Bush put SOLs into place. I may be wrong on this and correct me if I am but I think the SOLs are a Virginia measuring tool for student learning. President Bush had nothing to do with them.

zen said...

Rightside> You thought this would make a good topic, yet the basic premise you began and ended with is flawed. How about an admission? Admit that in your attempt to smear professors you got it wrong that school teachers get tenure.

I have no problem at all with holding schools accountable for their success or failure. But the manner in which SOLs register success have been a failure.
SWAC, I think you may be correct that SOLs are a tool used in Virginia, but fall under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program mandated by Bush.

They do not take into account that learning is a fluid process and the very strict regimen that underpin these tests are fundamentaly flawed by not taking into account anything but results. It assumes children that are all the exact same. Yet we know they all learn at different levels, may have mental or emotional problems, get sick, a bad home environment, or just bad days and judges them on a pass/fail scale without exception.
This puts unrealistic burden on already overworked teachers. And in the end what happens if the school fails? It loses funding. How is that supposed to improve anything?

Rightside> You cite a number of poor stats about the knowledge of students. I am horrified by these figures. But doesn't that just reinforce that the recent tendency to "teach to the test" have not succeded in teaching anything?

Colbert is the brutally funny comedian that mocks the wonder you don't get his hits too close to home. :)
It seems the pattern here, eximplified by the flaw in your original post, that you are a huge fan of Colbert's theory on "truthiness". Google it. It is the mantra of this site.

RightsideVA said...


Hear is a admission for you, I wrote the post showing that we are to accept the “Fact” that the higher educated professors have decided that the President is a loser, and we do not know better. It seems that we are to accept that the professor’s know all and what is best for us to believe and should follow blindly. I believe President Reagan was rated a loser when he was in office but us common folk knew better then and know better now…

I am sorry that you read it as I believe that school teachers get tenure as Professors do. My question is why do we give tenure as we do then are unable to remove those who hurt the system or would obviously lose their job if they were in the real world? Should we have a system that makes it so hard to discipline or remove someone who has stepped over the line?

I feel the post shows that the education system needs to teach the basics before it can go on to teach “Fluid Problem Solving”. We are talking basics here. How many quarters in a dollar, what state and find it on a map knowledge, etc. This shows me that the system is flawed and needs to be fixed but all we hear is how constricting tests like the SOL’s are. Should the students be taught basic knowledge? How can they become “Progressives” without the basic foundation?

“Rightside> You cite a number of poor stats about the knowledge of students. I am horrified by these figures. But doesn't that just reinforce that the recent tendency to "teach to the test" have not succeeded in teaching anything?”

So what should we do? Do we just throw up our arms and blame it all on Bush like everything else you are blaming him for? “Teach to the test” does not work so throw it out? I see people at work who cry that they don’t get paid more and don’t understand how come they do not advance but yet they lack basic knowledge, skills, and ambition to improve themselves. These people also don’t understand why we don’t just raise the minimum wage so everybody will not have to work so hard. They chose not to work harder to improve themselves and make themselves more valuable to the workforce…

“Colbert is the brutally funny comedian that mocks the wonder you don't get his hits too close to home. :) “

Thanks for pointing out how insecure I must be in your eye’s. Just because he attacks the President I support I must not have the vision to accept other viewpoints. You cheat us both by making that assumption. My point there is that too many people take comments by Colbert and Jon Stewart as facts and begin to accept them as true “News” programs. With your obvious background and involvement in the media I am interested in knowing how you feel about people who get their news from programs like this? Is it just a more sophisticated form of “Satire” like Saturday Night Live has been in the past? How does it effect your business?

zen said...

I understand the points you attempt to connect but do not see how you get from one to the other. Your assumption that tenured professors (quite a loose affiliation wouldn't you admit?) are responsible for the poor results of the National Geographic survey. And so we should be able to fire them based upon their obvious failings. And what credibility do they dare claim to judge the president?!
Like I said I get what what you are trying to correlate, but disagree with how you get there. Further, I agree that ranking Bush while still in office is not fair. Heck he could go much lower than 23 before he's through. :)

Many universities no longer offer tenure to professors, so why do presume that from this NG survey? "We" as you say do not give every professor tenure. It is voted on by academic departments and based on record, research and service. Tenure is not handed out lightly or ever given without exceptional performance.
Think about the lifetime appointments of judges to the Supreme Court, not a light process either. And like judges, tenured positions can and are revoked for misconduct.

You say: So what should we do? Do we just throw up our arms and blame it all on Bush like everything else you are blaming him for? “Teach to the test” does not work so throw it out?

Why is that your standard answer whenever a current policy is criticized? I've said it before, but it apparently bears repeating: There are always more than 2 ways to do anything. Just because SOLs, in their current form, do not work, does not imply that accountability should be thrown out.

I do think there is value to the 'fake' news programs on Comedy Central. First I think they make the world of politics approachable to a younger crowd. This crowd is traditionally turned off by the crap that most news network peddle in their narrow, self-serving way.
Let's face it the target demographic needs to be more involved, and better informed. Think of these shows as a primer to get people interested. But also I think a lot of viewers are well informed and appreciate that someone will level with them on how absurd a lot of what happens in politics really is.

They successfully use satire to present factual-based news, but they do not take themselves serious. They also respect their audiences enough to realize that they know the difference between serious and satire. I think yes, it is more sophisticated as witnessed by the guests that go on these shows. Major players from Colin Powell to John McCain.

Don't know what you mean here: "How does it effect your business?"

It reminds me of the saying about (that damn) rock-n-roll music: If it's too loud, you're too old.

Anonymous said...

Zen.Let me help.Don't teach to the test.Test to the knowledge of the child .That's what SOLs are about. A good teacher dosen't fear SOLs.

SWAC Girl said...

The spinning coming from Zen never quits. I also see the elitist attitude of the left in his responses ... his viewpoint is the only one he feels is correct and he belittles those who disagree. It's a constant knee-jerk reaction to every discussion on this blog.

If students were taught American history and government in school there would be no need for "government lite" from comedy "fake-political" shows. They would have the knowledge needed to judge and make decisions themselves.

As to the SOLs: If you weren't against them you would be against something else in their place so it really is a moot point. Bottom line is there has to be some way to measure what a student has learned in order to pass him on to the next level of learning.

The one thread I read in every single one of your posts is your need to bash President Bush at some point. No matter what the subject, you get your jabs in ... and that is what I see as wrong with today's liberals. They cannot look toward the future and working toward a solution to problems; they can only look to the past and continue to slash out at the President. Could just one response be made without the anti-Bush tone?

Anonymous said...

Zen--I think Pat Kennedy needs to take an SOL test.He seems to escape all other tests.

zen said...

SWAC>>> I don't understand why a discussion about anything other than what you believe is always so threatening to you. What is it about a different point of view that scares you so much?

SOLs...I've said time and time again in these posts that I agree that some sort of accountability is necessary. So you really have no basis whatsoever in presuming that I'd be against any alternative. Open you eyes, as well as your's really the key to communication and learning, or is that some sort of crazy "elitist" scheme too?

Your comment about "government lite" and kids being taught government and American history doesn't even make sense.

See nothing anti-Bush in this post.

Bubba said...

The thought of anyone using what is on comedy channel as a basis for getting interested in politics sends a cold streak down my spine.

The mere thought that a young person would get their interest in the govmt and politics from a satire show instead of a decent educational introduction shows how broken the education system really is.

SWAC>>> Home schooling is a viable option given the currewnt system, but I would have concerns about the socialization of the kids. Without the interaction they get in a school setting young adults have issues often relating to others and working in public settings. I think it would be better to fix the system rather than go around it. What do you think?

Sometimes I wonder how things would be if the Govmt school system and the Dept of Ed. were run by a Big Corp like Wal-Mart or Exxon. I suspect it would be a lot less expensive, and much better suited to turning out productive educated and rounded pupils. Instead of the current crop of uneducated, uninterested, and non-hireable graduates we get now.

What do you think?

SWAC Girl said...

I would have concerns about the socialization of the kids.

Bubba, what kind of "socialization" would that be? Would that be partying and drinking? My kids don't drink. Would that be smoking? My kids don't smoke. Would that be drugs? My kids don't do drugs. Would it be the "phase" teens go through when they hate their parents and don't want to be seen with them? My kids have always enjoyed family and activities with their friends so we've never been through that "hate parents" phase -- and they're 18 and 22.

The truth of the matter is home schooled students have better socialization skills than public school kids because home schoolers deal with all ages from infants through parents. They can communicate with all ages not just peers in their grade level.

In my 16 years of home schooling that has been the # 1 question from people ... and I've always been amazed the # 1 question wasn't, "Are they getting a good education?"

Home school students score higher on SATs than the national average. Because they are taught American government and history, over 90% vote and know the issues. Colleges actively recruit home educated students because they are better disciplined at studying on their own.

Sorry, Bubba. I could go on and on with the pros of home schooling. There are so many ... we are now getting to the second and third generation of home schooled students who have made their way into society and are productive citizens who are now raising the next generation of home school students.

Bubba said...

I don't have a problem with home schooling as a whole and there is no doubt that the education from home schooling is superior to what there is out there now. When I refer to socialization I am refering to the diverse (to the extreme) different variety of people that are out there. For example the home schooled people that I have hired over the years were very smart and very productive, but often when they got into a situation dealing with a type of person that they had not been exposed to they handled it very akwardly.

As far as drinking and drugs ect go....the morals we teach our children begin at home. Public or Private we have to teach those morals at home because I sure don't want someone else teaching their core morals to my kids.

When you are talking about home schooling are you talking about a large home school with kids from different families learning together or are you talking about a family keeping their kids at home and teaching just their own kids?

And yes I know there are a ton of pros to home schooling and I like the idea but have reservations about it. One of my biggest reservations is that as a nation we will have a vast need for educated productive citizens and I worry that home schooling won't keep up with demand. We need to fix the education system to better the nation as a whole. The home and private schooled people will still lead the pack, but I don't want to see the masses left in the dust because we ignore how bad the schools are.

zen said...

SWAC> Does the particular home school program used by your family require a lot of parental time? I've heard there are different programs available. And some are not as demanding on the parents' time.
I think this may be a concern that may keep some parents away from considering homeschooling. I was encouraged to learn that as programs develop there are options that may work for different situations. Perhaps single parents.
I realize this is relative to the age and level of the individual child. Older kids can probably function more independently than younger. Yet acknowledged is that there is a need to support and supervise them all.

But I would have to agree with the concerns of Bubba. That 'socialization' is not about drugs or alcohol, but interaction with different personalities. Also in my experience I've found that when young people that come from a more sheltered or protected life find themselves in an unfamiliar, very independent environment, like college or the workplace, that they are often ill-prepared to handle pressures or confrontation in the best manner. Of course this is all relative to the individual and the situation, yet there is a higher probablity of difficulties among non-socialized people.
I wonder if there is anything to learn from what areas of work that home-schooled students tend to be drawn to. Any way of knowing that?

SWAC Girl said...

Good grief, guys. You've hit me with many varied questions ... I was jumping online just to check posts and run ... but this is a subject I know inside and out.

1) Ackward home schoolers: This is not indicative of just home schooled students. I was shy when I was young so I was ackward in many situtions. That's personality. Most home schooled students I know are involved in sports, civics, YMCA, theater, church, and more ... they are constantly on the go, hardly a "sheltered" lifestyle.
2) In Virginia the law does not allow for one big "home school" group except for co-ops that meet occasionally to teach classes to students. Each family is responsible for educating its own children.
3) Time allotment varies depending on the child. The beauty of home schooling is the ability to tailor each child's learning capability to a curriculum ... high visual/low verbals, high verbal/low visuals, etc. The younger the child the more hands-on,time-intensive it is. I used the Calvert curriculum for my kids and, by the time they reached 6th grade, they were ready to begin studying on their own with adult guidance. After 8th grade they were self-starters for high school years. Of course, I still had to read lesson plans, read all the materials ahead of time, and guide them. But the time-intensity, if put in at the elementary levels, pays off by middle- and high school.
4) Teaching morals at home: That is the ideal and should be the way it's done. But, unfortunately, in today's world too many parents do not put the time into their children that is necessary. Many are two-income families with the time constraints of that fast-paced life ... and the kids then are more influenced by their peers at school who are into various life experiments -- drugs, smoking, drinking, sex -- it's always been like that.
5) There are curricula for all styles of parent involvement. Some parents have their own businesses and home school, some single parents are even finding ways to educate their own kids. It's tough that way but if they're willing it can be done.
6) As to "sheltered" home schoolers responding badly to various situations such as going off to college, etc. -- I had plenty of classmates who went to college and raised holy hell, drank, partied, and flunked out. They were public school kids ... and that continues today.

What about Columbine? Those were public school students ... certainly not the norm.

I guess what I'm saying is there are all types in any school setting. Home schoolers are no different. We have our good ones and our not-so-good ones. Look at the national spelling and geography bees when home schoolers have won. Then you have someone like the mom in Texas who drowned her children. I can't explain someone like that just like the public school people can't explain Columbine.

The bottom line is home schooling offers an alternative educational choice that may work for some families. For that reason I believe in private, religious, and public schools, too. Pick what works best for your child and your family. And, yes, if you choose home schooling be prepared for 24/7 for many years. It's your choice and you owe it to your kids to put everything into it if you make that choice. I've reeducated myself by teaching my kids all these years, I've loved doing it, and now that the last one is graduating from high school I'm ready to explore life myself.

RightsideVA said...

Gee after all that I feel much better when the Liberals call me a "Home Schooled member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"...

All I know is that when you look at the scores it seems that the home school kids hold their own and in fact are better most of the time... How do they do with the public after not being part of the public school system? Maybe they are able to see trouble and avoid it much better then those of use who grew up in the middle of it...

SWAC Girl said...

Rightside said, "How do they do with the public after not being part of the public school system? Maybe they are able to see trouble and avoid it much better then those of us who grew up in the middle of it..."

Life choices ... deciding what friends you will hang out with ... that does have something to do with it.

I was teen coordinator of the home school group for 10 years. I planned activities for them -- hiking, biking, swimming, cookouts at my house, board game nights, Capture the Flag, football, soccer, snowtubing, pizza-and-movie nights, a wide variety of field trips -- all events they enjoyed doing with their friends. None of those friends smoked, drank, did drugs, or really dated that much ... they're all friends and do everything as a group.

Last year we had a big cookout and volleyball night at my house that happened to be on the same night as local high school graduation parties throughout the county. When the teens left my house to drive home, a number of them called to say they had gone through various police checks - the police were checking for drunk drivers because of the graduation drinking parties.

I emailed our sheriff the next day and told him about my crew going through the interdictions ... and told him we had beer at our party ... root beer.

This year 16 teens will graduate in the Class of 2006 - my daughter's class. I've known and worked with these kids since they were 8 years old. They all have plans for the future: some are going to college, two into the military, some into vocational work, some into politics. I have no doubt that all will become productive members of society.

zen said...

Thank you SWAC. That was very insightful indeed. I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences.

Bubba said...

Thanks for the info SWAC...very interesting.