Fixing Education

Posted Monday, May 17, 2010, at 5:39 PM
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  • Very well said. It is so hard to explain to non-educators, many quite well-meaning, why merit pay for public educators is such a difficult, if not impossible idea. The very implementation is so complex, so impossible to do in any kind of even close-to-fair manner.

    A corollary of this is that there is no way any paper and pencil test can judge how well any teacher is teaching, yet most of the public looks no further than some poorly written test whose accuracy at measuring anything real cannot be proven. Still people act like these scores actually mean something.

    -- Posted by gully on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 7:22 PM
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    The amazing thing about this is that teachers hate the test, students hate the test and yet it is the best system to determine how teachers and students are doing? That's not even plausible and yet we are just supposed to grin and bear it until something better comes along.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 7:30 PM
  • You know, in my McCook High School class, the first person to become fabulously wealthy, graduated at or near the bottom of his class.

    How does one measure that kind of success? Not with any multiple choice test, that's for sure.

    -- Posted by gully on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 8:16 PM
  • Mike Senior and Mike Junior,

    The simple reality, the U.S. is being "out-educated" because our students are spending less time in core education in a short school day -- than the students of any comparable nation.

    Japanese high schoolers are in the ACADEMIC classrooms 10-12 hours daily, Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturdays.

    Failing college entrance exams is not acceptable for the academic scholars. Suicide for failure is all too common.

    Yet after gaining admission to their universities, the work load and academic pressure is lightened by at least 50%.

    Which is why some students who almost pass, come to U.S. universities, where the heavy lifting really starts, perform in the higher percentile of all students -- and are hugely successful back home.

    They work much harder and learn much more in U.S. universities, often beginning with advanced placement out of underclass courses,working harder than our own students.

    The five and a half day school week, with more than 60 hours in classrooms is not uncommon. Some students actually attend class more than 70 hours weekly.

    Better "day students" enrolled at top private college prep campuses with mostly boarding students, often elect to carry seven and eight solid academic subjects, including a majority of their classes in Advanced Placement and Honors classes.

    The upper 25 percentile of some of these graduating classes actually gain Advanced Placement for enough courses to enroll as sophomores at top universities -- including Ivy League, MIT, CalTech, etc.

    As long as we have a cultural attitude that high school is a time to have fun and learn some -- we are going to continue falling behind.

    Every major medical school in the country would have an all Asian-American and Indian-American student body, if the only criteria for admission was grade point average.

    Pre-Med graduating classes routinely see the top 20% academically comprised ONLY of Asian-American and Indian-American students.

    This is harsh reality. Check the National Spelling Bee winners for the past 20 years.

    Consider that many of these champions are working with their second language, while the Native born WASP students are having fun.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 9:42 PM
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    Let me elaborate on my comment GI. I still do not believe that this is a political problem. This is a problem we all have to work on together to solve (a pipe dream I know) but unfortunately politics has gotten pushed straight into it as each side thinks they have the magic solution but in the end it only adds more problems to the overarching problem.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 5:44 AM
  • Edmund needs to work on his reading comprehension, because his comment above makes no sense based upon anything previously posted. The only reference to minimum wage was that it was created by unions, which is essentially true.

    Everybody wants to say how the unions time has passed, but nobody wants to work 12 hour days, seven days a week.

    -- Posted by gully on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 9:16 AM
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    I completely agree GI that my point is absolutely idyllic. But I want to point out how sad it is that in the United States the idea of putting aside politics to fix any problem has become idyllic.

    edmund the fact that your entire post has no basis of proof further proves my point that the idea that unions have destroyed this country is a myth. Right along with the education system in this country is nothing more than indoctrination centers is a myth, the people that makes these arguments rarely deal in facts, they, like you, either just make them up or parrot them from someone else.

    It has always astounded me that the people that believe in the indoctrination myth are taking their talking points from people not only NOT in the education system but have spent little to no time in the system and actually have no earthly idea of what actually goes on in a school on a daily basis.

    That's why I have continually invited those who believe that schools are nothing but indoctrination or that God has been taken out of the schools (another myth) to spend just one day in a school going from class to class or shadowing a teacher from the time they get up in the morning to the time they go to bed just to find out what actually happens. None of them will ever do it.

    Here are just some of the myths about our school system that have somehow become fact in our culture:

    Teachers get in it for the money. Starting salary is %40,000 and that is on the high end. Most states are much lower. Oklahoma for example is $29,000 and that is law. The steps don't allow for a lot more unless you go to school more years.

    Teachers get in it for the vacation. Some people do go to school to become teachers because of all the vacation time they think teachers get. Once they realize that the good teachers use that vacation time planning their class or going to seminars to improve their teaching they quickly drop out.

    God has been taken out of the schools. This one kills me everytime I hear it. From moments of silence in the morning when students can pray if they choose, to organizations specifically based on religion (FCA - Fellowship of Christian Athletes is just one of the many examples) to the prayer meeting held by both teams after an athletic contest. Those that believe this just have never actually gone to a school to check it out for themselves, they believe what they hear.

    Indoctrination Centers. There is not even a basis for this myth/lie. It started when certain columnists and tv talking heads began sensing that History books weren't teaching the sugar coated version of American history that they wanted. It has somehow spread to all fields. I'm still unclear how they make the correlation. But in the end what you and I consider allowing a student to use their own mind to make up their own decisions about their lives these people consider indoctrination.

    The teacher's day ends as soon as the bell rings. I have never known a teacher (a good teacher anyways and even the bad ones don't leave school at the bell most of the time) to leave school at the bell. Even if they do their arms are full with schoolwork that they have to take home and grade and plan for the next day.

    Education sure sounds different when someone with actually knowledge and time in classroom talks about it rather than someone who hasn't been in a classroom since their last day as a Senior, doesn't it?

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 10:14 AM
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    And that last Senior was meant in reference to Seniors in high school not actually you Senior Loud. No confusion meant there.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 10:15 AM
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    You raise some good points, but I do have some questions about some of your assertions.

    If all curriculum is standardized, do you mean across school districts, cities, counties, states, or nationally? If there is a standardization of curriculum would everyone learn from the same book, at the same time, using the same standardized tests, quizzes, and assignments?

    How would teachers and administrators decide who gets merit pay? I can't think of a fair way for any teacher to be evaluated as to thier merit.

    Your list of myth/facts is interesting, where is the evidence that supports those claims? I realize there are some fools who spout those things, but there are also fools on the left who make just as ridiculous assertions.

    You want to talk about indoctrination of history books, what the heck is going on in Texas? There is some of your best ammunition for pointing out the Conservative indoctrination of students.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 11:27 AM
  • The Univ. of Texas Community College Education department completed a decades-long graduate research project more than 25 years ago.

    They studied EACH YEAR'S TOP ONE HUNDRED ACADEMIC HIGH SCHOOLS nationally, each and every year.

    Seeking to find the common denominator in what creates academic success.

    The schools had nothing in common.

    Some were in wealthy communities, some in the powerty and crime ridden inner cities, some in poor rural areas, some in small cities or small towns.

    Some on military bases.

    Nothing about faculty credentials, curriculum, funding, classroom discipline, parents' background and economic status matched between even a majority of districts.

    Finally, teams of graduate researchers asked to shadow all administrators in several schools for a month.

    In each of these schools, administrators committed large blocks of their time to visiting every student's home and meeting with the responsible adults.

    The "project" then fired a single question to every school studied during the years of research.


    Only 100% of each year's TOP 100 schools responded -- Certainly.

    Obviously, going and visiting were only part of the function. Actively engaging the adults and getting full family involvement were critical.

    Time consuming -- You better believe it.

    Effective -- Obviously.

    Worth including in every public school operation?

    What do you think?


    Mikes I and II --

    I appreciate your faith in "Education" training.

    However, I've seen a private school with a chemistry instructor, who had never had a single class in "Teaching Techniques, Education Philosophy" or other "education" courses.

    All he had was a state university degree in CHEMISTRY, Magna *** Laude.

    Down the hall, an Ivy League grad, Summa *** Laude in Physics and Math, taught those subjects.

    A retired West Point trained 3-star general taught four classes daily in underclass math.

    His salary - $1.00 annually and free admission to all sport events and other school programs, plus getting to volunteer to help on field trips.

    FIFTY PER CENT of that school's graduates were National Merit Scholars. One five-boy day student car pool recorded SAT's starting at 1400, going through 1550, 1580 and 1600.

    Those five, included three All-State Honor Musicians, four Al-Conference and All-Regional athletes and eventually three University varsity athletes. All five earned serious degrees.

    Five boys from ordinary families, with parents in farming, office clerical, warehousing and small business.

    It helps if those teaching KNOW the subject.

    And yes, like most families, there are several teachers -- Elementary to college -- in our family.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 12:24 PM
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    Henrdon part of the problem occurs in Math and Science fields. There are simply not enough teachers to go around and because of that a lot of states are now hiring people as long as they have a science or math degree. It's called an alternative liscense and I'll be blunt I don't like it. But that is one of the things we will have to live with until more teachers start coming out in those fields.

    SW what I am calling for to be more sucient as I wasn't in my blog is a standardized curriculum across the nation. I'm not calling for the same books or the same lessons. I am calling for the curriculum, which the teacher bases their lesson plan on, to be the same.

    I want standardized testing gone completely.

    Peers and administrations in the teaching field do not hold any punches back. If a teacher needs improvement they will be told. You can walk into a series of classes taught by a teacher and within two classes know if the students are picking up on the information. Making the observations secret instead of asking the teacher a set time will also show you what exactly is going on in the classroom.

    Fortunately the issue in Texas (where Thomas Jefferson was removed from certain parts of the textbooks by the overwhelmingly conservative board) is flushing itself out. Three of the members who voted for it have already been voted off the board. They haven't had a final vote on that and hopefully they will vote against that.

    Another example is the newly passed law in Arizona (yes, again) and signed into law banning all classes that teach about other cultures.

    Most of my myths that I posted were found right here on this board, coming from another blogger and several posters. I have also seen, heard, and read several of the same things from the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Dr. Thomas Sowell (who's backfield and PhD is in economics, not in education).

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 1:00 PM
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    Since when is $50 an hour minimum wage? Since when is retiring at 45 with over 100% of your salary minimum wage? Since when is driving a company into bankruptcy and coming out of court an owner minimum wage? Posted by edmund

    I am in a union edmund and I don't make anywhere near $50/hr. and I am certainly not going to be able to retire by the time I am 45.

    Gotta love your fuzzy math that more than likely happened in one place and definately is not indictive of the majority. If we would have had a union at the mine in West Virginia that tragedy would have never happened.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 1:03 PM
  • President Obama is looking at ways to evaluate successful teaching. Quality teachers can increase student learning in the main core areas over the academic year. This is easily determined and very objective. Our NDE requires a school to show improvement by using three sets of data obtained from the state NeSA tests (CRT), Achievement tests (NRT) and Local tests (CRT). The state test is a summative(end of year)assessment, while the other two can be formative (point of knowledge). A new achievement test (NWEA-MAPS) measures the progress in learning and evaluates student at their current learning level for math and reading, along with science. Social Studies in in the planning stage.

    Software programs exist, that can measure the improvement in each student and "crank out" an index number to pay teachers based on their affective teaching progress. Merit pay is very easily determined, as long as it is based on progress and not end point scores.

    Unions would have you believe Merit Pay can't work because they want everyone treated the same. I hate to break to them, not all teachers are created equal. But they should have equal opportunities to improve their role in the profession.

    -- Posted by Online on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 2:33 PM
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    The point here copyandpasterburke is that you took three lines out of blog and that's all you want to talk about. It's either because you have nothing to argue about regarding education or as usual you are trying to throw the overarching topic of debate education.

    GI and Online, until they can come out with a feasible way to measure success and failure I oppose the current move to merit based pay. If I understand it correctly it is going to be based off of the standardized tests through NCLB. Those tests have proven completely ineffectual. There was a case here in Arkansas a few months ago where three school districts were charged with inflating grades based on how those children did on the year end tests. In the end it was found that no grades had been inflated, that the children didn't understand the tests.

    If school districts can be unfairly charged with inflating grades based on a test who's to say that good capable teachers won't be fired the same way?

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 4:46 PM
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    Texas Board of Education is at it again with the "indoctrination"

    (F) discuss alternatives regarding long term entitlements such as Social Security and

    Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio,

    Alternatives? Like what? They list absolutely nothing as alternatives and only imply that there should be alternatives

    This comes from page 7 of the Amendment which I will post.

    But what stuck out to me is on Page 2 where they are actually strike out the Declaration of Independence from documents that had an influence on the founding of our U.S. Government. Seriously? It is one of the Charters of Freedoms. The American government itself lists the Declaration as an influence and these jokers in Texas have suddenly decided that no, in fact it isn't. What they have done is move it up in the previous paragraph which completely changes the scope of the statement. The original statement is looking at all the documents that went into writing the Constitution. Adding the Declaration into it which was written nine years ahead of time and one country and constitution before the US Constitution gives students an unclear vision of the founding of this country.

    Also this from right up front on the Amendment. I wonder what this McLeroy guy truly has in mind with this wording:

    Add new (4F)

    (F) Contrast the Founders' intent relative to the wording of the First Amendment's

    Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, with the popular term "Separation

    of church and state".

    Whose definition of intent are they encouraging teachers to use? Historians view of the Founders' intent or the revisionists version of intent.

    Talk about indoctrination take a look at this amendment. It is a pdf file so give it time to load:

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 5:26 PM
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    Thanks for the clarification GI. I was wrong, what can I say.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 5:30 PM
  • If you notice, the comments here that make sense are being offered by people who appear to be disagreeing, but really have relatively close to the same viewpoint on these matters. The major opposition is the one who cannot stay on topic, brings up multiple unrelated items, and misses key points because he really isn't reading what was posted.

    And, while paying teachers who teach well is admirable in theory, there seems to be no way to actually implement this.

    Think back to your education. Are the teachers you learned the most from ones you liked and would have rated highly, or were they ones who challenged you, irritated you, and supported you more than you deserved.

    Thank you, Loy Teter and Warren Everts, only one of whom I got to apologize to and to thank for all that was done to help me.

    -- Posted by gully on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 7:05 PM
  • My 68 year old dad is re-retiring from Nevada County High School near Prescott Ar this friday. The math teacher died of a heart attack last year and my dad came out of retirement to "help".

    Good Job - Daddy!

    And yes, I am a 43 year old man and still call my father "Daddy".

    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 7:20 PM
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    Job well done to your dad, wallis. We need more like him.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 7:30 PM
  • The community needs to be more informed, as to how the NeSA tests for the State work. Teachers are provided standards approved by our State Board of Education (elected by the patrons). These standards articulate the specific skills required at grades 3-8 and 11 in each core area. In addition, each teacher is provided with a set of Performance Level Descriptors (PLD) that describe what is needed to reach 1 of the 3 levels required by the State of Nebraska. Local assessments, entitled NeSA Preparation Tests are taken when student is ready and indicate if student has mastered the standard in question.

    The NWEA-MAPS testing is administered in the Fall and Spring to show student learning progress. The assessments allow for different learning levels and provide specific instructional strategies to increase student learning.

    Please don't allow your traditional instructional background dictate whether or not Merit Pay can be accomplished fairly. Teachers need to be accountable, as we are in the business world. Leaders can allow "simple cop outs" or explore new solutions. Let's explore.

    I am more than willing to provide a tentative solution to the Merit Pay paradigm. Let me know and we can discuss.

    -- Posted by Online on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 8:04 PM
  • edmundburke: Our world is controlled by money and power.Schools contract with parents to teach their children with NO conditions, they just need tax dollars. Teachers sign contracts that don't stipulate which parents can send their children into the teacher classroom. Teachers can't do much about parenting but can affect student learning while in their classroom. Quality teachers understand this premise and need to be reimbursed for their expertise and guidance. We don't need to rehash the problems but need to look at the solutions.

    -- Posted by Online on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 8:41 PM
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    The only people that think debate does nothing and is stupid are typically the people losing the debate.

    By the way nice copy and past, copyandpasterburke. At least this time you gave credit where credit was due instead of taking all the credit for yourselves.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 10:44 PM
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    I don't know who Mary Walsh is and a search turned up no information on this particular Mary Walsh but if I had to guess she has nothing to do with education what-so-ever.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 11:01 PM
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    I forgot class size from my original blog. I have now added it to the bottom of my solutions.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 11:04 PM
  • Unions would not be necessary if teacher's salaries were fair in the first place. Teachers do a thankless job, they rank among the lowest paid professionals in the country, and they have possibly the most important job in America. Unions hold the system accountable, and with out them teachers would be exploited.

    -- Posted by Platinumtoaster on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 12:02 AM
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    Not only is it a thankless job it is perhaps one of the few jobs that no matter what the teacher does if there is failure in any circumstance the teacher gets the full blame.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 12:45 AM
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    What in the world is someone who home-schools her children doing on the state education board? I am all for home-schooling if that is what you want to do but don't think you get to decide what my children can and can't learn.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 9:14 AM
  • Mike,


    Basic FACT -- There are hundreds of thousands of unemployed and highly trained scientists and engineers in this country today. Many with masters degrees and PHds in their technical fields -- with math and science training FAR beyond 99.999999% of professional teachers.

    Forget the School of Education course concentrating upon "Fingerpainting," or "Playground supervision," or the Education Administration courses regarding "Trustee/Administration Relations.," --aka -- How to manipulate and control your board members.

    Give me a math teacher who understands and can explain math.

    I had the unqualified math teacher in high school. Aside from being an idiot, he was incompetent and a P.E. major.

    A current district superintendent in California, was a P.E. major who flunked out of college three times before finally being graduated with his first degree.

    From day on on his first job, he was incompetent, totally unethical, so biased and dishonest that his P.E. students would not allow him to select teams for P.E. competition and as a "Zebra" officiating junior high and Pop Warner football -- was banned from two Pop Warner Leagues for clear bias and dishonesty.

    That clown is not a district superintendent.

    Just made local news after glossing over a teacher's clear misconduct, which he admitted was probably prosecutable under the criminal code.

    The first requirement to teach -- should be that the teacher have a BRAIN.

    Second -- BE TOTALLY TRAINED in the subject.

    Auburn's research study by Education School graduate students revealed that average public school teachers of America have been drawn from the academic bottom 25% of all college students.

    P.E. majors rank in the bottom 2%.

    At the time of the study, 95% of all administrators come from the ranks of P.E. majors and major sport head coaches.


    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 9:53 AM
  • edmundburke: Do you realize how silly you look when all you do is repeat talking points you have heard from others, points that are not particularly applicable to outstate Nebraska?

    The NEA has not taken over anything. The More typical union-type teacher union is the AFT, the American Federation of Teachers. In states like Nebraska, the NEA and the state association, NSEA, are not like traditional unions leading strikes, etc.

    The most reasonable and valid way of comparing state's progress on education is comparing ACT/SAT results, because they are the same test given all over. For states with 70% and higher participation, Nebraska always ranks in the top 3, usually first.

    Does this mean the NSEA has driven Nebraska education into the ground?

    You keep trying to simplify something that is very complex. You would be way ahead to quit listening to the talk-radio guys/gals and start paying attention to people, many on this thread, who understand that the home/family and its socio-economic condition and own educational background/history are far more relevant to the student's success than any school or any teacher. When half of the student body doesn't know where their next meal is coming from, it is very difficult to get the students to realize how important each lesson is. That might not be the case in McCook, but in most of the schools not making AYP, it is.

    Try to respond without repeating someone else's prejudices.

    -- Posted by gully on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 11:11 AM
  • Guillermo Inglaterra: "Traditional Instructional Background" listed below:

    1. Teacher was "Sage on Stage" and not "Guide on the Side". Totally a lecture presentation with no input and problem solving by students. Very little Hands-on activities.

    2. Teacher taught what they liked and not based on universal standards or school curriculum.

    3. No performance-based assessments, all multiple choice.All information was content oriented and very little process evaluations.

    4. Achievement Test were a one-time evaluation at the end of the year with no allowance for guessing and fast completions. In other words, student doesn't care and evaluation is worthless.

    5. Presentation were done in a "Cookie Cutter " style. One size fits all. No allowance for different learning styles, ethnicity, or family situations.

    If you are happy with the above, you are against Merit Pay because it doesn't work in that type of traditional education. Merit Pay has to be based on progress throughout the year and NOT end-point status.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 12:07 PM
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    Herndon I agree that there are hundreds if not thousands over qualified and overqualified scientists and mathematicians in the United States that could teach in the education field. But they don't and the reasons are simple. The first part as it is for most the pay if horrific. The second, if you have a masters or PhD in the science field or math field do you really want to go into an occupation where if your students fail you get the blame for it no matter what the circumstances are?

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 12:12 PM
  • GI: Please don't take my opinionated comments personally. They are founded on my experiences as an science educator and as a student in our public schools. Not directed at anyone. I just don't understand why anyone that wants to improve education doesn't see the value of a Merit Pay system and holding teachers accountable for their students' learning. Treating all teachers as equals is a detriment to that goal. Education is a business that produces educated students. If I can't provide a quality product in my business, I am gone! Tenure has been a serious obstruction to this process. Colorado has the right idea: No student learning progress in three years, NO tenure. After tenure, No progress in two years, teacher loses tenure.

    To improve student learning we have to think "outside the box" and not be bogged down in the "old ways", traditional education. My experience with our institutions of higher learning was anything but said goal. Lecture oriented classrooms with boring instructors that couldn't make it in their original high school settings. They were dollar grabbers and powered by the government agencies that required a special license.

    I assume you are an educator with vast experience. I say to you: Don't get caught up in nomenclature and minute details. Solutions require open minds and open views.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 1:08 PM
  • I would very much like to hear Online's proposal for Merit pay, which I feel is impossible to implement in a fair and equitable manner. I have held a variety of positions at elementary, secondary, community college, and university level, (as well as many years of "real world type job experience) and I have never seen a system that can actually determine which teachers are doing the best jobs. I admit I have worked with lifelong educators who are a true embarrassment to the profession, and I have worked with educators who do a fine job even though neither the administration nor the students realize it.

    Even if you disaggregate the data based upon earlier assessments, there is no way to measure most of the most important learnings.

    I truly would like to see it, but thirty plus years pretty much shows me it is impossible.

    -- Posted by gully on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 1:35 PM
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    Until a system can be implemented in the education system that takes account of the different learning styles and test taking styles of students, merit pay is useless.

    It would take a lot longer to figure out a fair system that could do merit based pay then just coming up with an educational system that benefits the student.

    Some teachers and professors are absolute geniouses when it comes to "traditional" teaching. I learned the best in straight lecture classes where the teacher/professor was engagaing. Reading straight out of a book is not traditional teaching, it's laziness.

    But at the primary and secondary levels of education traditional teaching doesn't quite work.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 1:53 PM
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    Ah copyandpasterburke what would we do if we didn't have you around to lob insults on a daily basis.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 1:53 PM
  • GI: All teachers in the State of Nebraska are held responsible for mandated standard content. Teacher A and B don't know what is on the test, only standard content and the PLDs. They are required to teach to the standards! How that is done, is the choice of the teacher. Some are more affect than others. Those that get the job done should be rewarded, Merit Pay. Teachers shouldn't be rewarded by ONE test but by the progress oriented achievement tests and the school's local performance-based assessments. Teachers are responsible for the content in their core area and need to be accountable.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 2:34 PM
  • Mike,

    Yes -- at least half of those unemployed engineers will teach for going pay.

    Willing to accept blame for failure!!!

    Engineers accept responsibility for multi-million dollar failures -- after management demands corner cutting to increase profits.

    Look at the professionals on that BP/TransOcean platform, required by BP manaagement to cut corners.

    The engineers weren't responsible.

    An electronics engineer spotted large chunks of rubber in the drilling mud which could only have come from a broken compression seal -- The seal which ulltimately failed.

    Other engineers reported problems with one of two sea bottom hydraulic ram units.

    Management ignored them.

    When all Hell broke loose, guess who sat before the senate committee, lied and attempted to blame the engineers who were told to "shut to hell up."

    The problem is -- we need math\science teachers.

    There are super-qualified people out there, but the education establishment does not want to hire qualified people who haven't had tons of "Education" courses.

    Most of these engineer-teachers will succeed brilliantly -- then what happens to all the arguments.

    We need people who know the material for math and science.

    Moving home ec or music or poly sci teachers to teaching Advanced Calculus is not working.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 2:35 PM
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    "Until a system can be implemented in the education system that takes account of the different learning styles and test taking styles of students, merit pay is useless."

    I agree completely and I think that is what I said earlier. I don't think there is a way to fairly judge merit in public education. I think a better tactic would be to ensure that teachers are paid enough that qualified people would enter the field.

    Back to the standardization question. If there is a standardized curriculum that doesn't use the same materials how standardized is it?

    reformedrightwinger and Guillermo:

    You sidebar about Representative Souder makes me wonder, because some people fail to live up to the goals they set, does that mean you think those goals are bad and shouldn't be striven for? You are very quick to call attention to people's failings, but do you have a better ideal to offer?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 2:43 PM
  • Prelude: There are assessments that take into account different learning styles and student learning levels. Explanation on those tests is available, if needed. Education can't continue to be a "NO" organization and needs to be more receptive to new ideas. If we remain in the Status Quo, no progress will occur. I provide a suggested Merit Pay process:

    Nebraska Standards are mandated by the Nebraska Department of Education because of Rule 10 passed by State Legislature. Teachers are required to teach and assess those standards. My plan to provide Merit Pay to teachers is listed below:

    Teachers would make an application to request consideration to be evaluated for Merit Pay. Not all teachers want to be involved. The ones that do, will go the "extra mile". The application would include their resume, teaching awards, professional development, community work, etc. After reading the application, a committee made up of local Administrators and Board Members would determine teacher eligibility for the merit system. Merit pay has to be based on quality of education. Good teachers improve student learning. So, the most important part is to measure the improvement in a three achievement test system; Norm Reference (Terra-Nova, NWEA, ITBS or Stanford), NeSA State Tests (Reading, Writing, Math and Science) and NeSA Preparation Tests (local CRT). Currently, these tests are used for school improvement and all scores are computerized. Therefore, a computerized program could be written to take the beginning baseline for a teacher's students and compare to the final scores for the academic year. The program would look at the increase and decrease in scores and provide an + or - overall percent of students that showed improvement. If a overall positive 80% of the students showed improvement, teacher could receive 80% of the Merit Pay allotted to eligible teachers. The computer program would be objective and the selection committee would be subjective. A good mix and a fair process for Core Teachers.

    Optional: Teachers could apply as a team. For example, a Core teacher with a music or FFA teacher. They could work together to improve test scores and share the merit dollars.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 3:05 PM
  • GI: Yes, I can tell you! Because Online test aren't seen by anyone until student takes the test. Teachers better know the "gist" of the assessment because of the state mandated standards.

    Standard Assessments are a miserable idea: This is what I meant by the "Traditional Background". Please be aware the new assessments meet the needs of learning styles and student learning levels. If you need more input, let me know.

    I don't know if teacher unions are stifling progress, don't care. We need to look at innovative ways to improve teacher quality. Merit Pay will motivate the best of the teachers. Money has a way to do that very thing.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 4:16 PM
  • *


    So is it your contention that the breakdown of the family is progress that we should be encouraging? Because you don't feel conservative family values are right for you that no one should value them?

    Should society have no norms or values? A person who has desires to torture or harm animals should not be forced to suppress those desires all in the pursuit of personal freedom?

    You mention that people should have an open mind. Does an open mind not allow for people to choose different values and goals for themselves? This is one of my complaints when people talk about having an open mind, what they usually mean is having an open mind means thinking the same why they do, because naturally we all think we are right.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 4:35 PM
  • There is no test which can successfully measure student learning. I was really impressed with Online's proposal, because it was very reasonable and had many thoughtful points. Then, all of the sudden, there were three tests involved, none of which can be correlated to true student success.

    A major part of the problem is that tests can only contain so many questions, and cover only a small amount of a year's curriculum. Students also react quite differently to tests. Females score lower on tests than males, but get better grades in the same classes. How do you account for that?

    When employers are surveyed, they want workers who are creative, able to adapt, can solve problems, and work as part of a team, as well, of course, have certain knowledge, often specific to the job.

    Where are those critical things measured.

    People who want tests involved have close to no idea about what good teaching is.

    -- Posted by gully on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 4:50 PM
  • Gully: I respectively disagree! You are basing your decision on the test you took (my assumption). Today's assessments are very innovative because of computers. Students can be challenged with performance-based assessments. The achievement, NeSA and local assessment tests use these type of evaluations. Please don't let your impression of the tests you took dictate your decisions. Computers have changed the assessments like your wouldn't believe. Again, I would be more than willing to share the new process.

    I agree, problem solving and creative thinking are a large aspect to student success in our business world. Computer-based tests can meet these needs. Truth is the fire that consumes our misconceptions!

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 5:17 PM
  • Thanks, Online, for being respectful, or respective, or whatever. I am more than familiar with modern tests, having been involved in the testing industry and area for many years, including this century.

    The problem with any pencil and paper test is that not enough questions can be asked because of time constraints. The time issue also adds to the male/female issue, more later.There are too many math concepts at any level to ask sufficient questions.

    And this doesn't even address the fact that test makers will privately tell you the tests invariably discriminate against females, who test worse but learn better.

    -- Posted by gully on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 5:41 PM
  • Wanna know an effective teacher? It's the one that is evaluated by their students. I have known teachers that did this voluntarily to make sure that they were not going to fast or too slow on certain subjects throughout the class and they could see who may need more help in class and who were doing just fine. Obviously, this may work better at certain grade levels than others but if you want to know where your students are then ask them what they understand and what they may be struggling with.

    Surveying your students and just asking what they've learned will go a long way in telling you what they haven't picked up on yet. Teacher designed tests can help do that too. The teachers can teach their students in such a way that they can learn and understand the subject and consequently, they will be prepared for the test. A great way to make sure students learn is to put in a few questions related to past material on new tests.

    Tests are effective tools in getting students to be honest about where they are struggling because most don't want to fail the test. The majority of the ones who don't care if they fail are beyond the influence of the teacher alone (which is another matter entirely).

    There is no way for the federal or state government to regulate which teachers are doing a good job and which ones are not. That is best decided by the head of that particular school's faculty and the board that provides oversight over that person and all other school faculty. Tests are a tool and should not be considered ineffective nor should they be seen as the one and only answer. A good lesson plan, caring personality, interesting but substantive teaching styles are all great ways of teaching and they can be verified by well written tests but the state and feds don't know the best ways to write them. Only the teachers know that but the teachers should be subject to review of their tests by the faculty head and local board to make sure it's not too easy and appropriate to the subject, just as a matter of common sense.

    -- Posted by McCook1 on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 6:04 PM
  • GI: We want tests to be standardized if they are based on Nebraska State Board of Education approved standards. Our State Legislature decided we needed to move in a uniform testing direction, so we can compare schools.

    Quote: "Sorry, but computers do make assessments a better measurement of school, teacher, or student success." Does this mean we agree? Sure they make it valid for that test, what the hell are we evaluating? The tests are measuring how well students are meeting a SPECIFIC standard. If a student doesn't meet a specific standard at the end of last year's academic year, then meets the standard next year, teachers should be rewarded as excellent teachers (Merit Pay). Standards have a common concept and are grade level evaluated.Please don't judge a fair evaluation based on your lack of assessment knowledge.

    Your judgment on NeSA Test is rediculus. It measured the ability of our students' ability to read and comprehend, as well as decifer the meaning of words from passages they have read. Hopefully, our teachers are preparing our students to do these specific skills.

    Your statement: Merit pay we can agree upon, but tying any sort of high-stakes to standardized testing is pure folly.

    Not doing that, high stakes has to do with graduation, don't pass, don't graduation. Merit Pay should be connected to student progress not graduation requirements.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 6:08 PM
  • *

    Hey look copyandpasterburke has copied and pasted from another non-education person parading around as an education expert, this time the highly regarded (yes that is sarcasm) John Stossel.

    Already lost on the point but gotta give copyandpasterburke credit for continuing to go to the well in any attempt to trash unions.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 6:52 PM
  • *

    Herndon I respectivelly disagree with you, several states have implemented alternative licenseses for the math and science field because they can not get enough teachers in that field. This has nothing to do with any teachers unions. No one is fighting to get math and science jobs so it's absolutely ludicrous to fight to keep qualified people out of the education.

    Those that are highly qualified in the fields do not want to teach.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 6:55 PM
  • Testing Explanation for Merit Pay:

    Achievement Tests (NRT): NWEA-MAPS is given in the Fall for Math, Reading and Science. Student answers the first question, if wrong, computer scales down to lower level so assessment can determine what student knows correctly, then student proceeds. Same is done with upper level. Every question challenges student, as to the standard being evaluated. If student answers with patterns or too quickly, the student can't continue and needs to restart assessment. This provides accurate data. Math and Science include performance-based questions that require student to perform "drag and drop" activities, not just quess on possible answers. Data is analyzed, skills not achieved and strategies are suggested to improve each specific student's learning. In the Spring, students are tested again and progress noted.

    NeSA Preparation Tests (CRT): These are constructed by classroom teachers from across the state, based on State Standards that will prepare their students for NeSA tests. They look at the standards, PLDs and construct questions (multiple and performance based) to give prior to State test. Online reports will focus on student deficiencies and assist teacher with remediations.

    NeSA State tests (CRT): Tests are developed by teachers and relate directly to the specific standard adopted by the State Department of Education. They are multiple choice and at grade-level difficulty. Teachers prepare for tests by reading State Standards and the Performance Level Descriptors, then teaching to those items. Tests are given during March and April and are summative. Teachers from across the state evaluate the results and determine the levels of met and not met.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 6:59 PM
  • GI: You are generalizing: "What are we evaluating? Apparently you want to evaluate an individual teacher based on an irrelevant test. That is where we are clashing."

    Irrevelant? The nation and state keep using these tests. Does that mean they are wrong and you are right? Again, you are looking at 'ole' school" to make your decisions. I have posted the new testing for your review.

    If you read my Merit Pay proposition, you will notice it has a team approach.

    Can you come up with a better approach or you just flat against Merit Pay?

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 7:12 PM
  • GI: Love to see you spell out your plan for Merit Pay!

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 7:41 PM
  • BLAH, BLAH, BLAH: I really don't want a "homework assignment". Just give me a specific Merit Pay proposal. I gave mine, like to see your plan.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 7:58 PM
  • Online, your merit pay proposal relied heavily on pencil and paper testing, which is not validated for any such thing. Dead on arrival.

    Like I heard today, not worth the pixels it is printed on.

    It had its points, but fell apart rapidly. Your fascination with "computers" and testing makes me wonder about substance, because style is all you seem to be about.

    -- Posted by gully on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 8:36 PM
  • Guillermo Inglaterra: The NeSA test had poetry for students to read and evaluate. What else is needed?

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 8:43 PM
  • Gully: There is NO paper and pencil with computers and pixels don't relate to paper. Computers allow for evaluation with performance-based assessments which is more authentic. I hate to say it, but I really don't understand your last posting.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 8:48 PM
  • The last two posting demonstrate a lack of solutions, just nit picking. Let's post how you would improve education or evaluate how well teachers do in the classroom.

    -- Posted by Online on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 8:52 PM
  • Pay increases should be based on the effectiveness of individual teachers and their pay increase should be determined by those closest to them as you described.

    One of the problems with unions in this regard is that the bad teachers benefit from the hard work of the good teachers when it comes to pay. They are actually rewarded despite their poor performance and after awhile they believe they are entitled to more pay. It's these people who I despise because the negative light that shines on their actions can drift over to those doing a good job.

    Personally, I believe a union, in the interest of giving an incentive for teachers to become better educators, should negotiate a contract with the school to allow the school to evaluate teachers individually and increase pay based on performance. It is extremely difficult to fire an underperforming teacher (which should change too) but they should not be rewarded for it. Otherwise, they will never change their teaching methods. It just sends the wrong message.

    -- Posted by McCook1 on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 9:44 PM
  • The biggest problem with eliminating incompetent teachers is not a union.

    I have seen the vast majority of teachers in a school pushing to get rid of an incompetent.

    After students have suffered through a year of that incompetency, every teacher who gets those students pays the price.

    Teachers want the bad apples out.

    The problem is administrators who believe fervently that "kids forget 95% of their class work anyway, they learn the important lessons in sports and on the playground."

    Incredible -- Yes. But exactly what I have been told by principals and superintendents repeatedly.

    Just as some see no value in music education.

    Only check the academic achievements of musicians. They are far ahead of non-musicians on average.

    Show me the student who is strong academically, is active in sports and music -- and that is a person who will succeed in life, because discipline, dedications, efficient work habits and ethics and team work are all part of their makeup.

    Show me the skateboarder or motocross rider, with no other activity and a "C" average -- He'll spend a lifetime underachieving.

    In this area, year after year, between April 1 and June 1 -- the regional TV stations report 17-19-year old fatalities in auto accidents -- collisions/rollovers/loss of control and drinking involved.

    Yet parents will buy the overpowered wheels for the kid's 16th birthday, so family "taxi" service is no longer needed. It is convenient to send him on his way to kill himself.

    It is not a single issue situation.

    Parents must be involved, dedicated and sensible.

    Teachers must be competent in their subject matter, enthusiastic, excited about the material and the students, dedicated to their students and unyielding in their demands for improving performance.

    School administrators must have brains and dedication to the highest achievement level for each student.

    If a kid gets out of line, kindergarten to Senior Year -- an administrator should put the student into a car and drive out to find the responsible parent, grandparent or guardian.

    Immediately -- not after several repetitions of misconduct. I've seen that simple approach work repeatedly.

    Big city or rural schools. Facing "momma" at her job on the steam press at the cleaners, or in the packing shed, or restaurant, or wherever -- or trying to explain to the father at his job -- will get any knot-headed kid's attention.

    But, administrators must learn to ask teachers intelligent questions about products coming out of other teacher's classrooms.

    If the fourth grade teacher is not teaching, the fifth grade teacher will know. Concentrate upon getting superior talent in KG and First Grade and then detecting the weak link becomes simple.

    I knew one fifth grade teacher who would not hesitate to challenge fourth grade teachers in the lunch room about their failure to teach.

    She got results -- without any support from the former university varsity fullback who was principal in name only.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Wed, May 19, 2010, at 11:22 PM
  • Hey, ONLINE:

    When you read something on a monitor/computer, you are reading pixels, not ink or paper. In addition to your other f]misunderstandings, you have no sense of humor.

    Perhaps I should say "multiple choice" test, not pencil and paper, but even the standardized testing complex uses the expression commonly.

    Just as an example,the dance that ETS has gone through as they attempt to "redo" the GRE, as they make announcements, change their minds, change their minds again, and do something else entirely, as the criticism ramps up. They thought their switch to CAT would alleviate the criticisms, but since it is a finite length test, it cannot be a true computer-adaptive test. The criticisms have not slowed down, but actually increased. Currently their is a gap of over 125 points between the means of the two main scores, showing even professional test makers cannot even do what they are trying to. This is one example which shows the fascination you and many others have with computers is a flawed way of looking at things.

    Of course, the statistical end, the figuring of scores, standard deviations, determining reliability and validity are much easier, but the computer can never write the question that determines if the learning has occurred, and time constraints will prevent sufficient testing to determine if all or even most of the concepts have been tested. It's just like teaching GED students to skip the problems that they cannot do, usually the pre-algebra, so they have additional time to work the problems they are more likely to do correctly, since you only need about 55% of the math problems correct to get your 410-450. Geeks design everything, then savvy educators crack their systems.

    -- Posted by gully on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 9:10 AM
  • *


    The reason I point out the extreme example is, I assume, the same reason you always point out the extreme examples of conservatism. You way people shouldn't have values repressed in pursuit of personal freedom, where does it stop? Are you the one who gets to decide what the norm is?

    If the breakdown of families is progress as you seem to be saying, at least to me; couldn't the breakdown of the economic system also just be a progress we should get used to?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 9:37 AM
  • *

    So the meeting of the State Board of Education is meeting over the next couple of days in their attempts to white wash American History.

    What's been the most interesting subject to come out of today's meeting is the question of religion. One board member in particular, Kelly Shackelford, has made a point continuously that the words "separation of church and state" are not in the Constitution. What he conveniently leaves out (not surprisingly) is that "separation of powers", "checks and balances", or "fair trial" but he doesn't seem to mind those terms. He goes on further to assert that there is a religious cleansing going on in this country and that students are the ones being punished.

    You think Mr. Shackelford? You are attempting to take the learning of Social Studies and American History and turn it into a religious debate. I would say you are the one punishing the students.

    You can check out the live blog of the meeting here:

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 10:29 AM
  • *

    Or if you prefer the direct link go here:

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 10:30 AM
  • *


    I don't think I said that Liberals were to blame for anything here. I point out that your attacks on those who disagree with you belie, your position that you want open minds. I think I have an open mind, I don't really care what people think or do so long as they aren't breaking laws. I will never tell you your ideas are wrong, just that I disagree, I try to not mock or belittle people who think differently than I do. I understand this is more a difference in personalities than perspectives but, people who are mean and rude don't seem like very good or happy people to me.

    If people choose to believe and support religious nuts screaming about "broken families" why does that make them wrong?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 10:33 AM
  • *


    I don't understand some of what you are saying here.

    "What he conveniently leaves out (not surprisingly) is that "separation of powers", "checks and balances", or "fair trial" but he doesn't seem to mind those terms."

    Is Mr. Shackleford advocating that power should be consolidated without balance and that people should not have fair trials? If not, why is it "convient" and "not surprising" that he didn't mention them in his discussion? I would be more surprised if someone would bring several extraneous topics into a discussion, why it would end up like these boards.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 10:42 AM
  • *


    I will tell those that I disagree with why I disagree and try to provide a legitimate alternative. I don't call names, belittle, mock, etc. People are much less likely to get upset when you acknowlege that you understand why they may think one way even if you disagree and try to talk about real solutions and changes. I do accept that there are reasons that people think the way they do (it isn't because they are stupid, deranged, hypocritical, or any of the other discussions I see her often) and those reasons need to be addressed in order to change behavior. To use the tactics seen most often in todays society does none of that.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 11:52 AM
  • *


    I apologize for thinking the post that was directed at me was in response to me and not other posters. Just my style, but that's why I always try to make clear who I am addressing.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 11:54 AM
  • Well, that's some pretty awesome humbleness, Senior. Good luck at saving the species.

    -- Posted by gully on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 1:07 PM
  • *

    Sorry what Mr. Shackelford leaves out is that those other phrases that are common place in the United States as being from the Constitution are not in fact in the Constitution but he is only going after separation of church and state. If he is truly interested in children actually learning in Texas Social Studies classes. He would use all the phrases and have students analyze how we as a nation have come to use those phrases.

    Instead he is just going after one phrase and actually trying to end it's use.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 2:33 PM
  • *

    You know since this blog is on education I wanted to point out something that I have noticed for particular posters and a blogger on this website. Whenever there is something that they can point out as to indoctrination and bad teachers coming from moderates and liberals they are all over posting wherever they can, devoting an entire blog to it, etc etc.

    Yet when there is someone on the conservative side making a bad name for teachers they are oddly silent.

    For instance (and I purposefully let this lay for two days to see if any would post on it and got nothing):

    A Corner High School math teacher used a scenario in which President Obama was assassinated to explain angles in his Geometry class. First of all why is a math teacher using the assassination of ANYONE to explain angles to his students. There are plenty of other possible and suitable other ways to explain angles.

    After this happened the superintendent just waved it off and let it go. He has now put the teacher on administrative leave.

    The reason I bring this up (besides this guy being a horrible teacher) is that if a teacher had used George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan this would be all over the news and the personalities (not to mention posters and bloggers on this site) would be sreaming for the teacher to be fired. Instead it was Obama and it's barely made a peep in the news.

    Now, obviously, this guy should be fired. Using assassination attempts on anyone to teach math is just a horrible and inexcusable method of teaching.

    Just thought I would point that out.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 3:09 PM
  • *


    The funny thing about that math teacher, is that it will probably be almost impossible for the school to fire him due to union rules.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 11:37 AM
  • *

    Guillermo and Hater,

    Did you complain when the left wing says hateful and terrible things about Republicans or do you join in?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 12:44 PM
  • *


    Can you not think of anything that has been said about Republicans singly or as a group that was unfair or undeserved? I was going for the general atmosphere not any specific case.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 1:07 PM
  • *


    I'm sorry I realized I didn't answer your complaint. I was thinking of various comparisons of Bush or Rove or Rumsfeld etc to Hitler, Antichrist, people with cognitive disabilities, etc. Or comments generalized from specific examples of bad behavior by Republicans such as Craig, Souder, Sanford, etc. However, I thought perhaps you could think of some of those examples on your own and I would like an answer to my above question.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 1:11 PM
  • *


    Well I do find it dreadfully hard to find things about you which are defensible. But if you ever become so I shall try to defend you.

    BTW, your name is republicans?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 1:15 PM
  • *

    I seriously doubt, natso that anyone, every could every use the line "Yeah I was talking about assassination, but only to teach geometry." It doesn't cut it.

    Just to be clear the students were talking about Obama and out of blue air this teacher comes up with the assassination plot. And that's what makes it even dumber. If he was just using it as an example he has wasted a lot of taxpayer's money as the police and secret service had to get involved in it.

    SW, I figure if a teacher can get fired in Washington (state) after discussing religion and a student and his parents got him fired (though the student did sign a contract that stated the teacher was going to push the lines in an effort to get his students to think outside the box) and not be protected by the unions, this guy who used an example of assassination (again it doesn't really matter that it involved Obama, it's the idea behind it) to teach math doesn't really stand a chance either. But then again considering the superintendent wasn't even initially going to do ANYTHING, I say the guys job is safe.

    I do find it interesting that you guys are bringing it back to Obama. I couldn't care less who the teacher was using. The fact that he was using assassination of anyone as a way to teach math was the deplorable part.

    By the way SW, the day you actually criticize your own side will be the day you can actually complain about people and who they criticize.

    And let's not use the copyandpasterburke as your answer about criticizing. I've seen one post where you questioned his intelligence and then you immediately followed it up with defending him. You can come on here and play like you are the great moderate and look at things on both sides of the issues, oh and foster debate. The truth however is you are and do none of those things. You like to come on here and catch liberals saying something potentially stupid and then rail against them until the end of time.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 1:44 PM
  • *


    Well since I see myself as having ideas that both sides support I guess I criticize my side regularly. I thought I brought up the Texas text book debacle here the other day, but because I don't shout and call names like most posters that isn't criticism in your book. I don't just criticize everything you or other left wing posters say as you imply and I've supported you throughout the blog on issues as well, which you've forgotten or missed. I don't think I've ever said a bad thing about teachers, In general, nor do I think I've made particularly negative comments about too many people. If I complain more about the Liberals here it is because I would hope they have more sense and civility from the self proclaimed party of the "open mind" than the extreme right wingers who have proven throughout the years to have little of either. Sadly you are all showing me you belong in the same boat together. I guess that is my fault for having a little faith in you to begin with.

    As to your teacher in Washington, he broke the cardinal rule. He discussed religion in school, separation of church and state and all that, the union probably didn't defend him too hard.

    One person brought it back to Obama and suddenly that is "you guys"?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 2:04 PM
  • *


    Sorry about the small joke, I guess I wasn't hurtful in my words so it isn't funny to you.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 2:06 PM
  • *


    Did I understand your response correctly?

    You don't think those sorts of things said about Bush, etc. were out of line and that's why you wouldn't connect those remarks to similar statements about Obama? Or were you meaning you don't connect to them because you didn't say them?

    The problem is you don't just criticize those people, I wouldn't complain about that. You generalize those out and say ridiculous things about all Republicans, Christians, etc. based on those examples.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 2:10 PM
  • *

    Ah the old seperation of church and state argument. You would be right if that was why he was fired. It wasn't. The student and his parents caused a huge stink because they felt that the student's right to religion had been violated. Whether it had or not he and his parents signed the contract. Even though as educators we are taught that contracts are not worth the paper they are written on when it comes to school and that was his downfall. In general there are two things that teachers are not supposed to bring up in class, religion and politics. Both teachers were guilty of that. But to compare both examples, the teacher in Washington was splashed all over the news and a blogger here devoted a blog to him. Yet the other teacher who uses assassination as a way to teach math has gotten little press at all.

    " If I complain more about the Liberals here it is because I would hope they have more sense and civility from the self proclaimed party of the "open mind" than the extreme right wingers who have proven throughout the years to have little of either. Sadly you are all showing me you belong in the same boat together. I guess that is my fault for having a little faith in you to begin with."

    Another textbook example of you playing like you are criticizing the right when in fact you are using the right to slam the left. Not to mention the whole guilt trip lobbed because you don't feel that we are measuring up to your ideals.

    You castigate those on the left for generalizing about an entire group of people because of a few bad apples and then you follow it up in your post to me with a generalization of all liberals based on what you see as a few bad apples. Now most people would see that as blatant hypocrisy, but I know you will try to twist and bend your way out of it.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 2:27 PM
  • *


    Your definition of polite is obviously different than mine. Mine doesn't include calling people liars, stupid, insane, lazy, etc.

    Lets go back over what led this:

    I said: "Did you complain when the left wing says hateful and terrible things about Republicans or do you join in?" and "Can you not think of anything that has been said about Republicans singly or as a group that was unfair or undeserved?"

    You had no answer other that do say I wasn't clear.

    I gave you an example and your response was: "Absolutely not. I would not make those connections."

    I wasn't sure what you meant whether you don't connect those as being unfair things to say about Republicans or whether you meant you didn't say them to which I get: "Did you bother to read my response?" when a simple "the latter" would have sufficed, perhaps I should ask if you read my response.

    Interestingly you still have never answered whether unfair things are said about Republicans which was what my question was asking, you did dance around and insult me a couple of times though.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 2:47 PM
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    Sorry I meant the religion thing as a joke, I don't know the story of the teacher in Washington. I didn't know it would strike such a nerve with you.

    Actually I wasn't slamming the left, I was slamming the posters here specifically, yourself included. I think I also slammed the right wing posters. I do conceed that it could be read I meant all on the left, but I really do just mean left wing extremists and you few posters specifically, if you don't believe me there isn't much I can do about that.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 2:54 PM
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    Is the reason you are so mysogynstic that you're gay?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 3:45 PM
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    I find it astounding that you speak in generalities all the time (not literally of course) except when I would like a generalized answer.

    I really don't know if I am just poor at communicating or what. You said you didn't make the connection. I interepreted that one of two ways, that you didn't connect those to outside parties or that you didn't connect them to your words. I asked which you meant then I get insulted for it, go figure.

    Lets do a little thinking outside the box and run this like a generic poll and ask my question again. I'm not asking for a specific example of when you said something unfair about a specific republican, I want to know if IN GENERAL you can think of times people are unfair to Republicans.

    You didn't answer the question I was asking, you answered the question you wanted to, again, I'm not sure if that is my fault or yours.

    Here is one specific example though, where was your outrage when people compare Bush to Hitler?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 3:58 PM
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    I can understand why you think I have no position. I believe you are so radicalized that only extreme positions have any meaning to you. You can't see a middle.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 4:00 PM
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    Struck a nerve? That is to laugh. If you don't know anything about the case then well now you do.

    But there you go again changing your argument so that you can appear right and all us liberals look stupid and confused. Your examples of those that are generalizing (and I guess you threw me in because I didn't fall in line with your rhetoric) were making those generalities about posters on here as well. You made the leap to posters making generalities about all conservatives. So your point is still hypocritical.

    I'll be the first to admit that I make generalities about most conservatives. I do this based on the party leaders who stick their foots in their collective mouths and then those in the lower structure not only not call them on it but often applaud. Are generalities correct? Mostly, no, but somehow on this blog they fit.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 4:19 PM
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    Is the reason you are so mysogynstic that you're gay?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 3:45 PM

    So, is this you NOT calling names? I know, I know, heck we all know your line of defense will be that you were just joking or saying it in jest, or any other number of excuses you can dream up. But you just fell into the trap of doing that which you have professed over these many months what you claim to despise. It's not the first time you have done this. Naturally you will deny doing it this time or any other time but those of us who live in reality free of spin know the truth about you.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 4:24 PM
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    I'll answer your question SW. I thought it was absolutely abhorrent and ridiculus that anyone could or would compare Bush to Hitler. Despite all of Bush's faults and just downright buffoonary during his eight years. Nothing he did ever compared to Hitler. There was only one Hitler and it needs to stay that way.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 4:27 PM
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    The mysogynist comment to loud, is half jest yes. What about it is calling names in your opinion? I ask him that because he seems to have very negative opinions of women, specifically girlfriends. Or is stating he is gay calling names?

    I never said I was perfect nor that I never say bad things about people. I've tried to clear up what I see as the difference between saying bad things about people and juvenile, baseless namecalling. If you don't see it that way, that is your privilege.

    Your specific rant about generalizations kinda confused me, I read it a couple of times and I'm not sure what you are getting at. How did I change my argument? I am trying to clarify my argument when questioned. I agreed it could be interpreted that I meant all people left of center and tried to clear it up to mean extremists, what more can I do for you? The specific posters on here who would read my words know who they are and I don't feel a need to list them. Yes I do include you in my "slam" of the extreme left, a year or so ago when I started posting you could carry on conversation, then it devolved into what these posts generally are today.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 5:02 PM
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    You called him a name SW what is so hard to admit about that? You always have these neat little ways to spin your way out of doing exactly what you deplore others for doing.

    Call a rose by any other name it's still a rose.

    My point and I'm not really sure how you were confused is that you are attacking, specifically GI and Senior, for making generalities in your opinion of all conservatives. When they call you on the fact that you are guilty of the exact same thing, you change your argument (for yourself) that you are only guilty of making generalities of posters on here, that way you keep yourself above the fray. For the most part GI and Loud make generalities about posters on here as well which destroys your point.

    The other point is that you claim to go after both sides yet in your own post in your attempt to go after conservatives you are only using that as a way to once again to attack the liberals on here. It leaves your point empty. Using examples of the right to attack the left is not examples of you going after the right.

    I don't agree with the tactic that Senior uses as I have stated but I do agree with him on his last point. The only person who seems to be convinced of your "who, ME?" Act is you. Everyone else sees through it, yet you continue to try to convince anyone who will pay attention to you that you look at things from both ends (and the only one that does) and go after people on both ends of the spectrum.

    You asked a question the other day about the feelings of the liberals on this site about comparing Bush to Hitler. Both GI and myself came out strong against those comparisons and yet we get nothing but silence from you. You wanted an answer you got that answer and yet you have nothing to say about it.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 12:27 PM
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    I thought you would be all for that copyandpasterburke. After all the people are using the system to make them more money. After all, that's what capitalism is. How do you think the richest in our country became the richest, by following the rules?

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 12:29 PM
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    I wondered why he hadn't posted in two days. I guess Fox News, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh didn't have anything new to say.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 12:41 PM
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    You are of course right copyandpasterburke. You only need links to websites that give isolated instances where you could be correct to prove in your mind that you are absolutely correct.

    Naturally you forgot to answer the point that these guys are doing exactly what you profess to support but use it to prove the opposite of what you are railing against.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 3:05 PM
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    By the way SW, when you call someone gay and you have no idea if they are gay or not, that is calling them names. You can twist the logic as much as you want to but it is name calling which you profound that despise when others are doing it. Once again this proves the point that you hate when other people are doing something but when you do it is perfectly fine(at least in your mind).

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 3:07 PM
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    That's what I too have been saying since my first blog here GI. America has gotten really good at mixing several different political and economical ideologies throughout the years.

    It astounds me however that there are people out there who think that America is still a purely capitalistic system.

    I'm glad to see though that edmundburke has come around on it.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 8:01 PM
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    I must say though that it is sad to see that copyandpasterburke is still beating that long dead horse of Europe with the same stick over and over again. It's classic overkill.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 8:03 PM
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    You may be the only person in the United States that is actually celebrating this win copyandpasterburke. Djou won over two other Democrats whose votes were split. Enjoy this victory because in November it will go back to being a Democratic seat.

    I guess you truly are desperate enough to celebrate any victory you can get. There was no anger here, this victory wasn't a result of any TEA Party mandate. One Republican was running against two Democrats. You would think the fact that Djou only won with 39.7 percent of the votes and the Democrats accounted for 58.8 percent of the vote would have given you an idea of this.

    But it's nice to know that you got so wrapped up in this race that you completely negated the other argument you were pushing on here.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 6:25 AM
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    So then explain copyandpasterburke if it was so obvious that a conservative be elected in Pennsylvania then why did the voters elect a Democrat and not a Republican? Today's conservatives are the sorest losers of all times. Uh-oh I just made a generality I sure hope SW doesn't get angry with me.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 2:49 PM
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    Senior Loud,

    I honestly apologize, I thought I had seen you posting that you were gay. Please don't take offence because I called you gay, you are welcome to take offence for being called a mysogynist, that is what I was joking about. I wouldn't use the fact that someone is gay or not as an insult, I don't think that is a joking matter any more than I think race, disability, or any other natural human condition is appropriate for mockery. In my view people can be made fun of for what they say or do, not who they are.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 2:54 PM
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    And we see SW other tactic when he gets caught doing what he shouts from the mountain top he deplores.

    Just a quick recap.

    First he denies that he (for this exercise let's go with the name-calling) called anyone a name and has never done it.

    Then he calls someone a name

    Then he denies that he did it, once it is repeatedly pointed out that he did in fact call someone a name he tries to claim that he was just kidding and no harm was meant.

    When that theory is ripped to shreds he then tries to change the meaning of what he said.

    Once that is thourougly debunked he goes for the final straw:

    He blames the person that he name-called for the name-calling (in this case it's Senior, in the past it has been GI and myself).

    But the one thing he never does is admit that he just did something he routinely admonishes the rest of us for doing (in his mind).

    Classy guy that SW. He's turned into a fairly more literate version of copyandpasterburke (who he claims to not personally like but will defend him at the drop of a hat if it affords him the opportunity to slam a liberal.).

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 4:35 PM
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    "In my view people can be made fun of for what they say or do, not who they are."

    Oh but how can I forget one of the most important steps. He suddenly changes into a person who accepts what he has previously admonished, so in that matter (again in his mind) he is no hypocrite.

    The rest of his post is full of great hi-jinks as he is trying to convince Senior (and possibly us, but probably more himself) that because gay should not be seen as an insult (which I would agree if he were serious) that he can bring it up in a normal conversation. For instance, you are talking to a homosexual and in Sw's world you just casually throw into the conversation something like this: "You are a good looking gay".

    Again, the way he twists and turns his own logic just in order that he can see himself above the rest of us is just plain old good fun.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 4:40 PM
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    For not striking a nerve, you seem to spend a lot of time obsessing over things I've said. If you don't accept my positions that's fine but I guess I'll have to TRY to explain it to you again. I don't like baseless, juvenile name calling. That doesn't meant I have relinquished the right to ever say anything negative again. You may notice I don't have any objection to Senior Louds complaints of my nit picking, for indeed I attempt to be particular in my speech and in how I judge others' statements.

    If I try to clarify a position, I don't see it as "changing my story" rather that I failed to tell my story correctly initially. I realize that because you are never wrong and never misspeak you probably can't understand the concept of clarification.

    I don't claim I wasn't insulting him, just that the insult I intended was mysogynist, which I felt isn't baseless due to his several mocking comments comparing me to negative stereotypes of women. Which none of you find troubling at all. I find it odd that you all focused on the gay part, which I thought I clarified above was not meant as an insult, I see no insult in being gay, perhaps you aren't as open minded as you think. Although to be fair to you, you probably just saw that as "changing my story" again.

    What part of my apology is it that you find so offensive?

    I wonder how many times I've defended edmund for it to be at the drop of a hat. If you feel hurt that I "slam liberals" while insulting right wing posters as well, there isn't much I can do about that.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 4:52 PM
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    Why would someone being gay have anything to do with them being attractive?

    Your recent train of thought is actually starting to upset me. I don't understand why you seem to think that because I don't agree with you politically, that makes me a hateful person. Why do you think I must find gay people insulting? What have I ever said here to make you think that?

    This is just like when I tried to stand up for those with disabilities, I was attacked by the so called "open minded" for having false outrage. Which even if my outrage WERE false it would still be better than your tacit support.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 4:58 PM
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    One other comment before I go. I was hoping Senior Loud would be on to accept or refuse my apology rather than have you attack it. But I would like you to go back over some of his comments, I'm sure you can see why I thought he was gay.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 5:01 PM
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    I assumed he was mocking others, which is all he seems to do, but I thought it was by measure of degree, not creation from whole cloth, as it were. I assumed since it was a running theme, that he was exaggerating for effect, and in that way was trying to "flaunt" it at those narrow minded posters to raise their ire.

    I can see now that a person who feels no qualms about making fun of persons with disabilities should likewise feel no qualms about making fun of people for sexual orientation. I for one find those jokes in very poor taste, and you are lowered in my esteem that you think things like this are fit for jokes (not that you care).

    Senior Loud has finally gotten his wish I think. As the Bard writes "a plague o' both your houses."

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 5:44 PM
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    Let's try this SW I don't think you are hateful person because we disagree politically, I think you are hateful because of your comments.

    You call someone gay then try to spin your way out of it by trying to say that you were just joking, then you again try to spin your way out of it by saying it wasn't meant to be name-calling, then you try to spin your way out of by actually blaming the person you called gay for the comment.

    And now you are doing it again but putting all the blame on myself while keeping yourself above the fray.

    At no point did I say I thought you were hateful because we disagree politically. I never said you were hateful to begin with, but that's fine I'll work with it. You are hateful because you expect every poster to abide by certain rules that you yourself won't follow. Then when you are called out on it you try every lie in the book to protect yourself from the fact that you are doing that which you proclaim not to like. Then in a last ditch effort you blame other people for your shortcomings.

    Then there's the whole you protecting others meme you keep going with. You throw insults with the best of them out there and yet you want to pretend that are the big protector. Here's a big hint SW if you suspect that someone is gay or if you know for a fact that they are, you don't call them gay.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Tue, May 25, 2010, at 12:46 PM
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    Actually Senior most polls show huge majorities favoring the repeal of the ban.

    It's beyond time. The only people that seemingly have a problem with the repeal are those that have never served in the military.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sat, May 29, 2010, at 9:43 PM
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