Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Walkout? Contract rejection? N.C. teachers simmering

Talk about a Nov. 4 North Carolina teacher walkout is floating on social media,  but will anything happen?

That's hard to tell.  Five hundred people have clicked "coming"  on the Facebook page for the walkout,  created by Mike Ladidadi  --  a false name,  according to a Huffington Post article on the walkout posted on Ladidadi's page. An unsigned  "NC Teacher Walkout" blog was recently added to the mix.

Online comments and conversations I've had with teachers reflect a tension between the desire to jolt lawmakers and the public and fear that staying home will jeopardize jobs and harm students.

Calabro
 "I am not sure that walking out is the the thing to do, but sure am motivated to do something," said  Beverly Woods Elementary teacher Marie Calabro, who has been trying to rally teachers and their supporters to stand outside schools every Wednesday afternoon to demonstrate support.  "To be honest, I think having a walkout may be a bit premature, and I wish teachers would either join NCAE and/or write their officials."

The N.C. Association of Educators isn't endorsing the walkout,  and is reminding members that striking or taking part in a "sick out"  is risky business in a right-to-work state.

"NCAE understands that this walkout is the consequence of the General Assembly and Governor McCrory for failing to live up to their constitutional requirements to enact budgets and policies that provide for a sound, basic education for all students in North Carolina’s public schools," the group's statement to members says. "NCAE is working within the legal and political systems to hold the politicians accountable for their actions this past year, including replacing them with elected leaders who will stand up for public education."

Judy Kidd, president of the Charlotte-based Classroom Teachers Association, isn't endorsing the walkout either.

But regardless of whether they're willing to take that kind of action,  many educators say they're far from ready to forget about a 2013 legislative session that brought sweeping changes for public education,  from the abolition of tenure and master's degree pay to the perpetuation of a pay scale that's gaining North Carolina a reputation as among the nation's worst places for teachers.

Kidd and Charles Smith, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, say the next battle may come when districts follow the state mandate to offer four-year contracts to 25 percent of teachers for 2014-15.  Those contracts will offer a $500-a-year raise for those four years in exchange for teachers signing away all rights to tenure.  Superintendent Heath Morrison recently told the school board he's trying to figure out how the state expects the selection process to work.

Kidd and Smith say they both expect the tenure changes in this year's budget to be challenged in court.  "I encourage anybody who's offered a four-year contract with a $500 raise to turn it down and let the courts rule,"  Kidd said.

Smith said the NCAE and CMAE haven't taken a position yet on the new contracts. But personally,  he's with Kidd.  Anyone who signs away tenure won't be eligible to get it back if the courts rule against the new system,  he said.

"If you offer me (the four-year contract) I'm going to tell you 'no thanks,' " Smith said.  "To paraphrase the old saying,  you can have my tenure when you pry my cold, dead fingers from it."

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

We ALL want to do it...but we know we can't. What we can do is: 1) Vote 2) Look for another job.

Anonymous said...

in this nation education is laughable

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

I read the letter from the "Teacher in NC" in that "NC Teacher Walk Out" blog.

In it she says:

"Think about our children’s high school teachers, no longer holding a Master’s degree in Math, Science or English."

Is a Masters degree in the subject taught a requirement for high school teachers now?

Or even a goal for most?

I seriously doubt that.

Most teacher's "Masters" degrees are in "Education", aren't they?

I've read elsewhere that around 90% of teachers Masters degrees are in Education, not the subjects they teach.

That's the WHOLE PROBLEM with education in the US.

And it's a big part of the reason many teachers "don't get no respect" from the general population as "professionals".

Many teachers with Masters degrees are what would be called "empty suits" in business.

Now, I would be in favor of requiring teachers to have degrees in the subjects they teach, FOLLOWED by a Masters in education.

But not just a huge pile of mostly redundant and useless education degrees unless they are teaching in a "special" education field.

We don't have medical doctors, for example, with Ph.D's in Hospital Management do we?

Of course not, we expect SOME degree of Biology and Chemistry knowledge from our doctors, not just the knowledge of how to run a hospital or a medical practice.

It's the MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE that gets them the respect of being a "professional", not just an advanced degree in something related to running the business.

Shamash said...

Ah, a timely article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/20/teachers-bonuses-masters-degrees-_n_786449.html

"Ninety percent of teachers' masters degrees are in education, not subjects such as English or math, according to a study by Marguerite Roza and Raegen Miller for the Center on Reinventing Education at the University of Washington.

Their colleague, research professor Dan Goldhaber, explained that that research dating back to a study he did in 1997 has shown that students of teachers with master's degrees show no better progress in student achievement than their peers taught by teachers without advanced degrees.

Goldhaber said his findings were criticized vehemently in the 1990s, but repeated studies since then have confirmed the results."

Anonymous said...

Shamash, I agree 100%. Some of the high school teachers that my sons have in a prestigious south (very south) charlotte high school are laughable. Last year his new biology and geometry teachers used the entire first semester to figure out what they were doing. They were not "proficient" in their subject matter and did not know how to teach, how to use the promethean boards or how to manage a classroom. And what about their Marketing teacher, who would tell the students what he did on Spring Break with his buddies, and use profanity with the students (even getting so upset one class he knocked over a desk). Yea, he's still there too. Think he's coaching now also.

I'm sure this exists at all of our area high schools. It's a sad state of affairs, but the truth.

Anonymous said...

"A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable."

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Shamash said...

I am particularly sensitive to this because I went to a school (decades ago in another place and time) where the HS "science" teacher was little more than a babysitter.

She was also a fundamentalist and didn't want to teach anything in Biology or Chemistry that even hinted of "Evolution".

When kids failed her simple tests, she allowed them to bring in Campbell's Soup can labels for extra points (I'm NOT kidding!).

Of course, she was working on a Masters degree just like every other teacher.

But it wasn't in "science", of course... because she only "minored" in THAT subject.

So "science teacher" just happened to be the unlucky card she drew at our school.

Just like "da coach" got to teach Geometry because he had a minor in math along with his PE major.

(He wisely chose to become a Realtor in his mid 30's ...)

We had a student (who I later got to know well in college) visit our school (from another school with a REAL science teacher) during a Physics class.

She knew so much more than our "teacher" that it was embarrassing. To me, at least.

As a result, my "science" education was a total waste of time in High School.

This will NOT happen to my children.

In today's world, it is much more competitive.

When I was in elementary school, for example, Singapore WAS STILL A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.

Unfortunately, I don't see that the schools in the US are that much better nowadays.

At least I had a few teachers who actually had degrees and occasionally an advanced degree in the subjects they taught (usually English or History, but STILL...)

I think something needs to change.

I'm not sure that anyone has "the plan", though, (outside of Finland, of course...)

We can't continue the way we are going, though.

I don't think "tenure" after four years of teaching or paying teachers more for masters degrees in education are valid answers though.

The Freeholder said...

Dear Teachers,

Feel free to walk out. Please remember all the horrible cut backs and layoffs that you've been complaining about. There are qualified, unemployed people out there who would like your jobs. You can be replaced.

Shamash said...

On the positive side...

I think a big improvement would come from removing the entrenched educational bureaucracy from education.

Starting with the "teacher schools" and those education degree requirements.

Most teachers SHOULD NOT have education degrees unless they are TEACHING "education".

Restrict teachers with ONLY education degrees to elementary school where "content" is well below what any normal college graduate could understand (and where teaching techniques really matter most.)

For middle school, require at least a bachelors degree in the subject(s) being taught, and maybe a minor (or something similar at a graduate level as an add-on) in "education".

For High School, at least a masters in the subject taught (or working on one) and perhaps a minor in education or some graduate-level teacher certification.

I'd essentially remove "education" from the "expertise" of the teachers above elementary level in favor of content knowledge.

And, of course, you'd have to pay for all that.

Which NO ONE really wants to do.

Also, I think we would need a two-tiered system for a while until we "shake out" the existing system.

And I'd also favor tracking some students into technical rather than academic tracks.

Shamash said...

Freeholder,

If it were only that simple.

Unfortunately, education is such an entrenched field that ONLY someone who has been approved by the educational bureaucracy through teacher "certification" and most likely an EDUCATION DEGREE can teach.

I know plenty of talented people who would like to teach, have even looked into it (through lateral entry programs), and STILL found it too difficult to break into the guild.

I met one such lady last weekend at some training sessions.

She was from South America (spoke Spanish natively, but spoke enough English as well to consider teaching English as a volunteer).

She had graduate degrees in Chemistry and has taught college level classes, but can't even get a job here without going through an amazing maze of "requirements" (which she says basically amount to having already been a teacher in the US, in a circular sort of way...).

You'd think that a Spanish-speaking STEM teacher would be a hot item.

She's out there, knocking on the doors, but no one's listening...

Barb S. said...

Glad to read some comments here about the abilities, or lack of abilities, of some teachers. Teachers at the high school level should ABSOLUTELY have a specific degree, or masters, in the field they are teaching, especially for the science and math courses. A masters in Education, what the #@&^%&* is that?

Anonymous said...

Having a masters does not mean they can communicate high school subject matter to kids better than another teacher.

Anonymous said...

"A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable."

Anonymous above quotes FDR.

I'll double-guarantee you that it never occurs to him that that's exactly what his Republican and Tea Party buddies have just done, effective this morning. Oh, the irony.

Anonymous said...

I think we can all agree that teachers should be required to meet certain levels of competence regarding subjects that they teach. However, amongst all of these calls for better educated teachers, where is the acknowledgement that nothing is free and we are going to have to pay teachers something even close to comparable to what other STEM graduates can expect to earn in order to win them over to the profession? What is happening right now in NC is that the salary bar is being set so very low that the only teachers that will be left before long are those that aren't capable of getting better jobs outside of teaching. We can't simultaneously insist on higher quality educators and insist on paying them nothing. Well, I guess we can and the NC GA has, so all that's left is to fight it and let the unfortunate consequences teach us all, and them, a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Many people are unaware of the corporate influence on education. ALEC (an alliance various of corporations) has drafted all of this legislation and it gets handed down to the different states. There is no accountability at the highest levels in the corporate world. CEOs are getting record bonuses when their stock prices drop.

Now this system has permeated into education where corporations reap the rewards of their mediocre charter networks and testing. Teachers have no power; a walkout is their last resort. The corporations (ed "reformers") have created a system, in the public and private sector, where all accountability and responsibility lay at the feet of those lowest on the totem pole.

Keep in mind these "reformers" (not the DOE) are the ones who determine what's "proficient" despite being non-educators. They are the ones who convince everyone that test scores are the only way to determine teacher effectiveness even though student achievement is mostly attributed to non-school factors. They are the ones who own 90% of the media outlets to sell this false narrative to the public for their financial benefit.

Anonymous said...

Those complaining about the quality of teachers they had in the past should recognize that like in most things you get what you pay for. NC clearly does not value public education at the primary level as is reflected in the way we pay and treat our educators. Morale is extremely low and while most teachers are unlikely to walk out, few are also unlikely to do anymore than the absolute minimum to keep their jobs. It's sad for all involved but it's also understandable.

Wiley Coyote said...

9:52...puleeese...

The House sent several bills to the Senate, which has stated as many times that they would not look at anything the House sent to them, even when the bills contained a continuous resolution to fund the government.

This is the same Senate, that by law, must present a budget in April each year and it took FOUR years for Democrats to produce one. It only passed by one vote with 4 Democrats voting against it.

Obamacare passed without a single Republican voting for it and many of those Republicans now in Congress were elected solely to stop Obamacare.

How can the President (which is against the law) change the law by issuing waivers and delaying implementation of certain aspects of it but Republicans can't do the same thing?

Both parties are equally guilty in this current mess.

By the way. Carter had 6 shutdowns in 4 years with every one of implemented caused by HIS Democrat controlled Congress.

If teachers want to walk off the job, so be it. This is America. It is up to those who walk to face whatever consequences are levied, if any.

However, I might remind them of what Reagan did to the air traffic controllers in the 80's....

Anonymous said...

I was an NCAE member but decided to cancel my membership this year. I believe when you decide to join a organization that represents you as a professional it is important to have the best examples of that profession representing the organization. Unfortunately, the NCAE is led by people like Charles "film festival" Smith and Erna "hand out a packet and play on your computer" Lyde. The people who currently hold positions of power within the NCAE are poor examples of the teaching profession.

Anonymous said...

Teachers don't have to walk out, just wait another year or two and the profession will be gutted. With the pay currently being offered it makes ZERO sense to pay for the college education that the profession pays for. The enrollment in undergrad education has collapsed. So do the math here - teachers retiring, teachers leaving due to the awful support for education in this state and fewer and fewer new teachers entering the field. All of this happening while the population in NC continues to climb. It isn't sustainable. At some point the system will fall apart unless drastic changes are made.

Willy Loman said...

That is fantastic that 500 people have clicked "coming."

Shamash said...

Anon 9:19.


Sure, having a masters doesn't GUARANTEE anything.

But you can be sure that a Masters of Education doesn't mean you can better "communicate" Physics or Chemistry.

That's why you still need some other form of evaluation for teachers "performance".

Maybe theatre classes would be better than an education degree.

Some of the best "teachers" I have had came from acting backgrounds.

One taught Economics in an MBA program.

Of course he had a Ph.D. in Economics to back up his "performance".



Shamash said...

Anon 9:58am.

I certainly know that good teachers need to be paid more.

But we have a chicken/egg problem right now.

We don't want to pay more for mediocrity, do we?

Or advanced "degrees" in education, do we?

That's the problem now. We seem to be out of sync with what is probably needed.

Maybe this is just the start of the "purge" as some have suggested.

The problem I see is that so few interested in doing the purge seem to have an idea what to replace the current mess with.

Or at least they aren't being clear about it.

(Or maybe they do know and it's Microsoft Certification for teachers..., which is probably equally bad.)

Anonymous said...

Everyone talking about degrees in the field also need to consider that many teachers have a double major - my sister graduated with a degree in english AND education to teach middle school. You are also not considering that the education system is k-12, so a 1st grade teacher teaches all subject and most likely does not need an advanced degree in math and english to teach addition and basic reading. The masters that lower grade teacher obtain is based on subject matter, ie a masters of education reading or a masters of education in math.

Anonymous said...

I agree teachers should know their content. However, being a content expert does not translate into being an effective teacher. This is where educational courses that teach pedagogy come into play. Most NON educators don't understand that concept.

Shamash said...

Anon 11:07.

I think you are presenting a strawman argument often used by teachers.

Most people (even those without "education" degrees) know that there is more to teaching than pure knowledge of a subject.

At least I've never heard anyone seriously argue otherwise.

We've probably ALL had a teacher or two who knew their material but couldn't present the material or control a classroom with disastrous results.

I also don't think that having a degree in "education" or even an advanced degree in "education" means you can teach, either.

That's why just having a degree mostly means squat and so many people are opposing higher pay for just having a degree.

Especially if there is no differentiation between schools or how that degree was earned.

If you earned a Masters degree from going to a converted Ramada Inn for weekend classes for two years is it the same as going to Harvard?

Not for most "professions".

But how often does something similar to that happen in education?

Do teachers from better schools get more pay?

Q Q said...

Two points:

1. Remember, all of this is "for the children." The teachers and educrats have nothing but the best interests of the children in mind...

2. When some of the teachers walk out, it will negatively impact the perception of teachers in many peoples mind, because they are not putting the kids first even when they say they do. That is hypocritical. Not a good idea when a HUGE $290 million bond package is coming in November...

3. Vote NO on the bond package in November. Send a message to the education establishment!

Shelly said...

Just because you have a degree in biology does not mean you can teach biology. An education degree helps you with classroom management, keeping your patience when criticized by the general population who know nothing about what it takes to be a teacher, and the fundamentals of how to share your expertise with adolescents who do not want to learn. There are many who have tried to step into the classroom with no luck and left. They are called lateral entry!

Shamash said...

Gee, for the Nth time...

(Wow, teaching is just so "special" that I must need an Education degree to get this point across...)

Just because you have a degree in Education doesn't mean you can teach, either.

And having a degree in Education doesn't teach you a thing about Biology, either, does it?

So what?

Where does that leave us exactly?

More pay for a Masters degree in something that may or may not improve teaching, like an advanced degree in Education?

We need to decide what's important in "education" and how to measure that.

Not just hand out more money to anyone who can pass a degree program from some "education" diploma mill.



Anonymous said...

The whole tenure issue is just a job security gimmick. In the actual real world private sector, you aren't guaranteed a job - you don't perform you are generally out of a job.

As many other posters here have stated - a masters degree in 'education' is pointless. How about a masters in mathematics, science or history - provided you are actually teaching that subject.

Shamash said...

Also, why do so many teachers just assume that their critics "know nothing at all" about teaching?

Especially when every single one of us has probably sat through hours of "instruction" in exactly the same environment we are discussing.

I don't assume that teachers "know nothing at all" about math or computers, or business or even education.

It's just that what they know may not be advanced enough for MANY students unless they have studied the subject more intensely than MOST Education majors have.

Also, some of us critics have taught.

Either outside the US (as I have) or in corporations, or even our own children (which is no small task, either).

Now, maybe the unwashed masses don't all have "Education" degrees, so aren't qualified to talk about "Education"...

But, then, maybe the whole reason those "lateral entry/exit" folks NEED TO LEAVE is BECAUSE of the DAMAGE done to the school environment due to TOO MANY people with Education degrees.

It's a lot like running a business to some degree.

Having an MBA doesn't make you the best businessman, either.

Anonymous said...

My undegrad is in English and my masters is in Education. The state of NC is weird about awarding monies when the advanced degree doesn't result in an "M" on your license. Masters in the subject areas often require you to petition and HOPE it is recognized as opposed to an education masters getting that automatic "M".

Anonymous said...

*As a note... I did my post-bac work for my teacher certification, then went on the a masters. I have a FULL undergrad in English - Composition and Rhetoric with a double major in Literature.

I didn't want Shamash to mash me with her thumb that she's been busy mashing teachers under.

Ann Doss Helms said...

That's funny -- I've always imagined Shamash was male. Shamash, what's the correct pronoun?

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that some of the best teachers don't have a teaching license or degree but have come into the system laterally. I can think of three right off the top of my head (Spanish, physics and Economics).

Shamash said...

I am male.

Though I've been told several times that I write like a woman.

Whatever that means...

As for Shamashing teachers under my thumb...

I'm mainly referring to the research I quoted earlier stating that the majority of Masters Degrees for teachers are in Education.

Which I posted in response to the "Teacher in NC" letter about "our children's high school teachers no longer holding a Master's degree in Math, Science, or English".

When, in fact, very few of those much sought-after Masters degrees are in the actual subjects being taught.

And VERY UNLIKELY in Math or Science.

So I considered that argument to be a bit of a red herring and disingenuous at best (and perhaps a self-serving, bare-faced, bald-faced, or bold-faced lie at worst).



Shamash said...

Anon 1:04.

I think it is a shame that a Masters degree in a subject other than "Education" results in such a bureaucratic gamble on getting more pay (as you say).

But I also think that is just more evidence that something needs to change and that the educrats are running (and ruining) the system.

I think a Masters Degree in the subject matter should be MORE valuable than a Masters in Education in most cases.

Especially for someone who already has a degree in Education.

Why pile up more and more "Education" degrees unless you plan to TEACH "Education"?

To me, you are closer to the ideal, though.

You have an undergraduate degree in a particular area with an additional "Education" degree at a Masters level.

To me, the "Education" degree should come on top of actually having something of substance to teach.

And should probably ONLY be available at a graduate level for people who have a proven skill in another area.

At least for teaching anyone above the sixth grade.

Anonymous said...

Four years in the military out of the country provided me more teaching skills to lower rated (and much older)adults than any undergrad or grad course ed course I took. Fortunately some of the ed courses were waived for veterans coming back during the Viet Nam era depending on their major. The Education major was to be avoided at all costs. Major profiling even then. Finally, both teacher groups provide only one benefit to teachers..........CYA insurance. Mr. Largess has an impressive win rate against the CMS Bozos so maybe it's worth it just to see him slice and dice the latest HR head.

Lance said...

I have to wonder how many here that are critical of teachers would be satisfied in their own careers if they had to deal with similar set backs.

Consider how you'd feel if you had your current benefits greatly reduced, salary frozen indefinitely and your only shot at upward mobility meant you had to return to school and get a graduate degree on your nickel.

The extremely low morale among our teachers is more than understandable and it will impact us all for years to come as few can work at a high level with such low morale.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in New England and graduated high school in 2000. When I came to NC for college, and subsequently becoming employed I realized the value of my K-12 education was far higher than several of my peers. The English classes I had were long drawn out discussions dealing with symbolism, writing styles and reflections on the historical period when the literature was written. I heard from several of my peers educated in NC that their English classes were comprised of watching the movies of these classic books.

I was lucky that it was uncommon in high school to have a teacher who had a masters degree in something other than the subject they were teaching, which it sounds like is not the norm here.

The question is why did I have such qualified and thought provoking teachers? It all goes back to pay in my eyes. How can you expect the best and brightest to go in to teaching if they can make multiple times more money doing most anything else. The way things are set up now how can you expect to attract anyone worthwhile with such a low pay scale? Teaching should be a noble profession where you shouldn't have to take a vow of poverty to become a part of.

I was lucky where I grew up teachers were paid well enough that the best and brightest decided to venture into education. If teachers salaries rise more people with masters degrees will enter the system and begin to phase out the unqualified teachers who give the whole profession a bad name.

Make teaching an economic option for the best candidates and a natural evolution of our system will take place. Sub-par minds can't be expected to craft blank minds into great minds.

Wiley Coyote said...

3:06...

My wife has been living the same dream for over four years in the private sector, cut back to 4 days per week, vacation and sick time cut, 401-K stopped and thankfully I have decent insurance in my job because we couldn't afford what they charge at her office.

I know of others in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

Samash,
I would like to have your job. Trolling message boards all day must be a tough life.

Let's not forget teacher's must be licensed in a specific subject area, unlike most private sector jobs. And those licenses must be kept up-to-date throughout their career.

Also, we have very thorough state assessments by our administrators throughout the year. And yes, they can use those assessments to fire you if you do not show advancement.

But go on. Keep telling me how teachers have no accountability and have "Empty Suit" degrees.

Anonymous said...

Too many people in Education within CMS with Education degrees. That is a problem (no joke).

Shamash said...

Anon 3:31pm.

Hey, I have nothing better to do while waiting for my checks to arrive...

Fortunately for me, though, they aren't gubmint checks so there's no danger of them not getting cut.

Heh.

Anonymous said...

Teachers, don't do the walkout thing. Many of you fear the repercussions. Instead, just call in sick. Most of us have dozens if not hundreds of sick days. We could create chaos for as long as it takes. The state govt. counts on the same old attitude of "we will hurt the kids." Got an idea. The old computer hogs who are commenting earlier on this site can go to the roughest schools in Charlotte and substitute.

Anonymous said...

NCAE and Classroom Teachers Association

You all should be the ones fired. Nothing but a loss of bonus money, salary and benefits over the last 5 years. The United States has been out of a recession since March 2009. What have you provided your memeberships for your dues?

NOTHING

Anonymous said...

3:18--Funny, my son had just the opposite experience of the one that you described. He graduated from a CMS high school in 2003; went to an Ivy League school. He was told by professors there that his writing and analytical skills surpassed those of many eastern prep school educated students. His first history paper was put online as an example of how a paper should be written. He received the university's award for top math student upon graduation. I thought most all of his CMS teachers were top notch. Some have retired but many are still teaching. So please, let's not put all of our teachers in the same boat. Yes, there are some bad ones and some mediocre ones out there, and I agree they need to be weeded out. But there are many excellent teachers who continue to do their job through hard economic times.

Anonymous said...

Wiley Coyote: "I might remind them of what Reagan did to the air traffic controllers in the 80's...."

And I might remind Wiley what that did: It destroyed the American middle class. While there were solid union jobs, a person with a high-school education could work hard and make a decent living for his or her family - usually his, as a matter of gender. Reagan, the ultimate corporate lap dog, used the power of the federal government to destroy unions, just, as in the early 1900s, North Carolina called out the National Guard and slaughtered union members in Madison County and elsewhere, at the behest of textile barons. If Wiley, who seems immune to reason, history and common sense, will get off his blind partisanship and do some research, he will find that income disparity has risen in lockstep with declining union membership since the early 90s, and incomes, adjusted for inflation, have actually declined. He will also find a direct correlation between offshoring of jobs and weak unions, particularly in North Carolina. Once, unions could fight to keep jobs. No more. He will also, if he has a grain of common sense, realize that his party line that unions cost jobs is rubbish. How do explain, Wiley, that North Carolina has the nation's lowest union rate, and yet consistently one of its highest unemployment rates? Two factors: No unions to fight for their employees; and the fact that the state's low union rate and anti-union policies for the last century have attracted companies looking for cheap labor. When it's cheaper in Mexico, South America, the Pacific Rim, bingo - off they go.

Wiley Coyote said...

4:47 needs to know I could care less whether there is ONE union in the United States.

Also, the air controllers got what they deserved. They called Reagan's bluff and they lost.

I used to work for two former controllers in another field who acknowledged that fact.

You might do well to see which states other than NC that have lost jobs to China, which include Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and so on, which are mostly blue states.

Cheap labor overseas and automation here in the US have accelerated the decline of manufacturing jobs here(NAFTA ring a bell?).

Also, I have no "party". I'm a registered Independent.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher and while I am not happy at all about the current state of events, I feel that a walk-out or a "sick-out" would be counter-productive. I am thinking about the parents of my students. They are people who work hard to pay my salary and are very sympathetic. If enough of us were to be out, this would cause a major disruption in their lives and a terrible inconvenience trying to figure out what to do with their children. Some would lose vacation days. Some would lose pay. It wouldn't hurt the General Assembly but it would hurt so many others.

Honestly, would hurting those who support us help our cause or hurt it? I think the answer is self-evident.

Anonymous said...

Heath and BOE along with county leaders may I suggest you start supporting your teachers. That means lobbying Raleigh to wake up and at this juncture do it soon. This has reached a tipping point and your can no longer treat your staff this way without losing top talent. STAND up to the BULLY in Raleigh and do it NOW!!! Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Teacher here...when I was in high school, I had an Algebra II teacher who just graduated from Princeton. So she was smart, right? Maybe so, but not even she could teach a lick. I passed because she was giving extra credit for bringing in Kroger receipts that were used similar to the Box Tops program. Guess where I worked for my part-time job in high school? You guessed it...Kroger. Obviously I had easy access to many receipts.

The good news is I never had any desire to use Algebra in any way, form, or fashion as part of my career, so I didn't feel bad about how I passed. Before you ask..."No", I don't teach math now, but computer and business education. I still haven't had to use those skills not gained because of a very intelligent teacher with a Princeton degree who couldn't teach worth diddly.

There's a combination of content knowledge and teaching skill that is required to be an effective teacher. So to everyone who dismisses the value of a masters degrees and/or educational degrees, you need to think again.

Anonymous said...

Vote no on bonds.

Vote out incumbents on School Board.

How about on Nov. 4 teachers don't walk out, but community members walk in? Volunteer on Nov. 4. Show your support for teachers and students.

Walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

Or just keep posting here, shouting at the rain.

I'll be in my classroom...I dare you to be in one too.

CMS SciTeacher said...

As a teacher, I also do not feel that a masters in Education (especially administration-related) necessarily translates to better teaching. It would seem those degrees are more suited to those who aspire toward administration, and one would hope the extra pay there would make up for it. There are a few Education masters that certainly can enhance one's skills, though. As for me, having a masters in the subject I teach does make me a better teacher. I simply have more knowledge in my field than others doing the same job.

Susan Plaza said...

You are right Keith. CMS needs to support the teachers. In addition to lobbying Raleigh, they can make an immediate impact on morale by eliminating the 4:15 bell and giving elementary teachers back their 45 minutes of planning time!

Michael Phipps said...

Do it. Stand up do something that people notice. If you want your fellow taxpayers to pay attention: walk out. Put your money where your mouth is.

Anonymous said...

Shamash,

You seem to be on a bit of a tangent regarding the generic "Masters in Education". While I can agree with some of what you are saying, you should have all the facts. NC instituted policy a few years ago that they would no longer pay the Master's salary increase unless your Master's Degree was held in the specific content area you teach. Are/were teachers grandfathered in under the old master's degree policy? Absolutely. See from the DPI...

Salary can be authorized at the graduate level only when the teacher's assignment for the majority of the day (fifty percent or more) is in the area to which the graduate degree applies.

The fact of the matter is that this argument is irrelevant. Because NC has done away with any incentive for continuing education, in 2 years there will be no teachers in the state of NC getting a master's degree in ANYTHING. So when we think about those awful, horrible, tenured teachers...just remember they are the last "generation" of NC teachers to hold any sort of advanced training and education. As another post mentioned, it will be very interesting to see what will be the fallout across the state over the next 5-10 years.

Right or wrong, agree or disagree...there will be no reason to continue many graduate programs in the state of NC. If I teach art and I had wanted to make master's money teaching art, my master's degree would have to be in art per the NC guidelines implemented a few years ago; same with science, math...get the point?

Shamash said...

Anon 5:39.

Thanks for the info. I wasn't completely aware of the current regulations, but knew that most Teachers' Masters degrees were in Education, not the subjects being taught.

So thought the argument that we would no longer have teachers with Masters in Math, Science, or English was a bit specious.

My view on this is that a Masters in ANY subject shouldn't result in an AUTOMATIC pay raise, so in some ways I can agree with the idea of not making that as automatic as it now seems to be.

Education seems more focused on "credentials" than is probably necessary with the result that a lot of people have advanced degrees that probably don't make much difference in their teaching.

I've never worked anywhere where you could get raises or promotions by adding degrees to your resume, so I don't think that's such a huge problem.

A teacher with a Bachelors degree can be just as effective as one with higher degrees, though that may not be ideal for most.

I personally think a Bachelors in a subject to teach followed by graduate work in Education makes the most sense and raises the bar a bit for teachers as well as making it more like other "professionals" (such as the lawyers and doctors that teachers like to compare themselves with.)

I think what's happening is an attempt to change from a credential based reward system to more of a performance based reward system.

Which is what most of the rest of the world has to follow as well.

I think this may result in fewer unwarranted advanced degrees, but will not necessarily stop people who REALLY think an advanced degree will improve their teaching performance.

While I might not do it that way, I think that is probably what they're trying to accomplish.

I also don't think that tenured teachers are "horrible".

But I can't think of any other job in which "tenure" occurs on a regular basis, so it seems just a bit outdated, and I can see how it can be abused when it is automatic based on a time schedule.

Especially one as short as five years.

To me, a four-year contract is nothing to sneeze at. It's more of a "guarantee" that most people have in their jobs.

As for the future, well, I don't think it looks that bright in education unless we do something ENTIRELY different (such as other countries have done) to turn around their education systems.

We weren't exactly on top of the world or headed that direction anyway.



Shamash said...

Anon 4:47.

I don't think you can say that Reagan single-handedly destroyed the middle class.

Global competition is doing that.

And while unions may have "fought" for employees, in many cases they also made it difficult for companies to compete and gave people a false sense of security since companies had to compete globally.

People who are co-dependent often "fight" for each other, even though the end result is a death spiral for both.

Some unions worked a lot like that.

I can just remember the attitude that so many of my fellow HS students had in the 1970's.

Their attitude was that they didn't need to study in school because they could ALWAYS get a job at the local plant.

And they used to say that in class when the teacher would suggest that they needed to study harder.

But even in the 1970's people were being warned that global competition was getting tough (remember the JAPANESE auto "invasion"?) and that we would not cruise by forever based on winning WWII.

Those who listened survived, those who didn't are MUCH worse off today.

Something similar to what happened to automobiles in the 1970's is happening in education today.

We AREN'T the best and we need to pay more attention to those who are before they eat our lunch.

Shamash said...

Again, this is the REAL crisis in education...

And there is nothing "unions" can do about it. No one can depend on the "safe" jobs of the past.

Not even for the simplest things.

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21583609-only-few-countries-are-teaching-children-how-think-best-and-brightest

BAMA Companies has been making pies and biscuits in Oklahoma since the 1920s.

But the company is struggling to find Okies with the skills to fill even its most basic factory jobs.

Such posts require workers to think critically, yet graduates of local schools are often unable to read or do simple maths.

This is why the company recently decided to open a new factory in Poland—its first in Europe. “We hear that educated people are plentiful,” explains Paula Marshall, Bama’s boss.

Shamash said...

I guess people just don't see it.

But I'm looking at where we've been and where we're going.

After WWII, we could proudly say we were NO. 1 in the world in many things.

Because we were.

For a brief while.

It probably started with the transistor radio.

But the Japanese came back first with small electronics, and then automobiles, steel, and other manufacturing.

Using our OWN best thinking in quality control against us.

But at least we were left with "high tech" and higher "value-added" manufacturing and software development.

But now things like computers and software are done elsewhere just as well as or better than here(IBM PC is now Lenovo in China and there is much software development in India).

But we were still the kings of business.

And the world still respected our opinion when it came to the world of "business".

Up until the economic meltdown of a few years back which left us with egg on our faces and a HUGE loss of credibility in the world.

No, it wasn't just Bush or Obama, but the near collapse of our entire financial world that kicked us down yet another notch.

As it stands now, our military is just about the only thing we have left that is truly the best in the world.


And I find that just a bit sad.

Anonymous said...

Considerable research confirms the relationship between school start times, sleep deprivation, and student performance, truancy, and absenteeism, as well as depression, mood swings, impulse control, tobacco and alcohol use, impaired cognitive function and decision-making, obesity, stimulant abuse, automobile accidents, and suicide. Mounting evidence about the biology of adolescent sleep, and about the impact of later start times, shows that starting school before 8 a.m. not only undermines academic achievement but endangers health and safety. Because logistical and financial issues prevent local school systems from establishing safe and educationally defensible hours, however, legislation mandating start times consistent with student health and educational well-being is essential.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:54am.

But apparently only in the USA.

Other kids in other countries seem to not have the same problem.

I wonder why?

Maybe you can explain how the kids in Finland make it through school in the darkest months of an Arctic winter.

And still manage to have the highest achieving schools in the world.

Maybe you need to look more closely at those studies (as many have).

It's not like there ONLY ONE solution to the problem.

The other is to get to bed on time, hint, hint...

Anonymous said...

I thought the average of 9.9 days per year teachers were absent meant many had already walked out?
Not too many employers would be willing to accept that level of absenteeism.

Anonymous said...

12:13
The school day in Finland starts between 8 and 9am in the morning and finishes between 1 and 2pm in the afternoon. Children spend much more time playing outside than in the US, all teachers must have masters degrees, and there are no standardized tests. 7:15 starts, countless tests, and undervalued teachers are not working here.

Anonymous said...

12:13 Your point? We don't live in Finland, and our teens have quite different lives than their Finnish counterparts.

Good friends of ours live in Switzerland. School starts at 8:30am there, and they go home (no buses) for lunch at 1pm, that is when their school day is over. Most students then go to private lessons and tutoring during the afternoon.

You cannot compare apples to kumquats. High schools should absolutely start later. Who came up with a 7;15am start time and thought that was a good decision for teenage students?

Anonymous said...

My point is that we can learn from outside the US.

Something that we, as a nation, are reluctant to do until some "foreigners" kick our butts.

And if you don't like comparisons to Finland, then how about Poland or South Korea?

Or any of the 20 or so countries who do better than us on various international tests.

Yeah, we aren't THEM, either, but somehow THEY are whipping our tails in education.

Even though we spend much more money per student than the vast majority of THEM.

(And yes, they probably have smarter teachers, too, but that's not the only thing...)

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:20pm.

So, you are saying that in Finland kids typically start school up to an hour BEFORE sunrise (@9:30am) in the darkest parts of winter.

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=101&month=1&year=2013&obj=sun&afl=-11&day=1

And go home just barely before dark again (@3:30pm).

Remember, the winter "days" in Finland can be as short as 6 hours or so in Helsinki and less as you go further north.

(They have plenty of time for midnight basketball, though)

Anonymous said...

7:26 They are whipping our butts because many of those countries still have intact families.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the CMS system is that all the money for the county school system goes into one pot. The Superintendent and Administration (per instructions of the BOE) distributes the monies to the schools. Note, of course, that the best and most programs and monies go to the "elite" public schools while the remainder only get the "trickle down" monies and lesser programs. When the BOE members vote on major proposals, the "majority" votes are always in favor of what the individual BOE member wants for their particular favored school in the district they represent. I have been following the activities of the BOE since the 2010 rezoning. It's a sham. Each member has the power to make or break a school in their district because the majority of the BOE help each other. It's a win win situation for the "elite" public schools. Time for the encumbants to be voted out. This is why I do not support the current Bond proposal. In the end it will help those very schools that already get it all.