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Obama vs. the Tea Party--who can lead?
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1518

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coboardhead said:
Quote:
What I do know,is there is not ample evidence available to claim that union teachers do not perform as well.

Who has ever done a performance study on union vs non-union teachers? How would you do it? I am sure there are plenty of excellent union teachers, but there are probably plenty of really bad union teachers that are secure in their jobs and can't be fired. If unions only helped teachers get paid more, that may be a good thing. However, more pay should only go to those that are at least average or above average performers, not those just showing up for work. That's also an issue for me.

Measuring teaching performance is a challenge. It's hard to do unless there are quality principals or other administrators that have intimate knowledge of what is happening in each and every classroom. This isn't difficult for private schools, but it seems to be impossible for many public schools. Just looking at standardized test scores as a method of teacher evaluation is NOT a good idea. Again, Atlanta is a good example of what can happen. Even if there isn't any cheating, teachers will be motivated to teach only to the test and not cover all elements of a strong and varied curriculum.

Any union job that offers job security regardless of performance is a problem for me. High pay for substandard work, no wonder so many jobs are going overseas.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 2025

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

techno900 wrote:
coboardhead said:
Quote:
What I do know,is there is not ample evidence available to claim that union teachers do not perform as well.

Who has ever done a performance study on union vs non-union teachers? How would you do it? I am sure there are plenty of excellent union teachers, but there are probably plenty of really bad union teachers that are secure in their jobs and can't be fired. If unions only helped teachers get paid more, that may be a good thing. However, more pay should only go to those that are at least average or above average performers, not those just showing up for work. That's also an issue for me.

Measuring teaching performance is a challenge. It's hard to do unless there are quality principals or other administrators that have intimate knowledge of what is happening in each and every classroom. This isn't difficult for private schools, but it seems to be impossible for many public schools. Just looking at standardized test scores as a method of teacher evaluation is NOT a good idea. Again, Atlanta is a good example of what can happen. Even if there isn't any cheating, teachers will be motivated to teach only to the test and not cover all elements of a strong and varied curriculum.

Any union job that offers job security regardless of performance is a problem for me. High pay for substandard work, no wonder so many jobs are going overseas.


Agree with all of this.

What I have disagreed with, because the evidence is just not there, is that private schools get better results than public schools as you implied in an earlier post. The study I referenced was done in 2007 by The Center for Education Policy. I would provide a link, but my public school education has not provided me the necessary skills to figure thi out on my ipad.
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2735

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

reinerehlers wrote:
Is their AAA bond rating not based more on their conservative financial practices? I'm no economic undergraduate but giving credit to unions is pretty backwards economics principal to me. Correct me if I'm wrong.

He wasn't giving credit to unions or big government for Denmark's stable, happy society, stable economy, or happy workforce and low unemployment (though there may be some correlation). He was pointing out that the predominate influence of unions and/or big government don't appear to screw up things in Denmark. ("It doesn't seem that unions and big government necessarily mess things up. ")
.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5450

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if any of you with glib answers about education, except Techno, have ever read Diane Ravitch, or been in a classroom? Again, there is a focus on anecdotes, and then a leap to broad conclusions, demonstrating the lack of critical thinking--or perhaps the failures of our education system.

Unions are like any other large institution. They harbor some unethical people, they lose vigor over time, and they eventually end up focusing as much on protection of the institution as on their original mission. We will always need to reform all of our institutions, including large and small businesses. But we shouldn't be so silly as to believe that the presence of a few dishonest or incompetent people means that it is all so.

I fired tenured employees in public service, represented by unions. The rest of my staff thanked me. It was one of my most important jobs--but it needed to be done. The advantage of public unions, if they are good, is that they provide an entry for communication outside of the courts and work stoppages. But I agree with many of the criticisms of them, particularly in California where local politicians can't say no and as a result local employees are overpaid.

We need teachers unions for a different reason. There will always be vindictive people around the edges of public education who will try to get a teacher fired. Perhaps for giving the son of the Mayor a "C" instead of an "A". More commonly in the South for teaching science. Tenure is intended to protect the institutions, both government and education, from wholesale and destabilizing changes when a new regime comes into power by a 1/2% margin. (See Wisconsin for what that can mean without protection for public employees.)

With that said, I favor much longer periods before employees, both government and teachers, are given tenure. I have been volunteering teaching reading to first graders for over 8 years now. I am much better at it, although no more enthusiastic, than when I started. It is very much a myth that we can simply plug enthusiastic college graduates into schools, public or private, for a few years and upgrade the profession. Some are born to teach, but even those need to learn the techniques. I would use 5, or perhaps even 7 years, as the non-tenured track for teachers. Some problems don't show up right away.

Techno is right about most of what he says. It takes substantial efforts by principals and by master teachers to upgrade the performance of individual teachers. Testing, both of students and teachers, is a part of this--but not a panacea.

The education system in America is improving, a lot for kids with stable homes and support, more slowly for the children of people who weren't successful. I learned to read well by the middle part of second grade and never looked back--I have kids who just entered first grade who are reading chapter books, and second graders reading Harry Potter. California has just adopted a new set of core standards, based on research and successful efforts in New York. Those reforms look at what isn't working, and why, and make adjustments.

With all of that said, there is always room for different approaches. I have no problems with charter schools as long as they don't end up de-funding public schools-different kids learn in different ways, and we must always be trying to find ways that will work better with kids who can't sit still, and boys in particular. But that doesn't mean that anecdotes, like the rubber room meme, are important, or even relevant. Certainly I support making it easier to terminate bad teachers, and prevent them from getting tenure in the first place. But we are not going to improve the quality of education by firing 5 to 10% of the 4 million teachers. We are going to need to have principals, and school boards, committed to upgrading the performance of every teacher.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 2025

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac you provide some valid points on teachers unions.

As you mentioned, reform should be a continual process in all organizations. It seems, lately, that sensible compromise, that would provide this reform, is lacking between our political parties. Polarization of the electorate is our politics du jour.

This thread asks the question "Obama's leadership vs the tea party?" I have to agree that the Tea Party has exacerbated this current polarization to obtain political power. Well written laws and effective reform are not possible. So, Obama has had to resort to the politics of manipulation.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3516

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On topic,
43 teas have presented some legislation. For most it is their first work ever done for their checks.
They have lost interest in the deficit and will allow it to rise so that they can put more money into war and the military and delay the ACA for one year at a time.
Should they not get their way they intend to shut down the gov.
The first thing to go is Social Security and Medicare payments so those who rely on those checks need to be ready. This includes disability payments for many. That could kick in on your Nov. check.
Should it go as the Teas are planning Americans may only see one more SS check this year.
Actual GOP conservatives who want smaller spending, deficit reductions, and support disabled and elderly Americans will not likely care much for this.
I don't see how Boehner can head this off, so brace yourselves.
We will see how the Teas govern now that they have begun working for their pay.
Hoping for the best. Democracy fixes these things slowly. Many of those who supported the Teas at first were idealists like me.
We have drifted off. Those who voted Tea tend to be older white people on SS.
If their checks stop so the Teas can spend more money on bombs and guns then the trend seen in the last election of throwing the Teas out may accelerate.
Bull in china shop.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5450

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CB--it would probably surprise you to know that I learned most of the underlying political theory in a civics class in high school in 1966--in conservative Southern California. While many of our posters were having trouble paying attention in class? What used to be basic, conservative Republican values.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3516

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember them. They are very popular with liberals these days as the whole USA has moved right. GOP had to give them up in practice because of lobbyist money.
When I ask conservatives if the GOP truly represents them on this forum, with examples, I get silence.
With my friends I get NO.
With strangers I get a long rap against Obama and called insulting names like libtard.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5450

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are legitimate criticisms of Obama. They generally don't involve spluttering and spitting in rage:

Quote:
Byron Williams: Obama is great orator, but an ineffective communicator

By Byron Williams, contributing columnist 2013 Bay Area News Group

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy experienced one of (if not the worst) foreign policy years of any first-year commander in chief. Kennedy authorized the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, was dominated by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at their summit in Vienna, and watched helplessly as the Berlin Wall was constructed.

But Kennedy learned from his disastrous freshman year. In 1962, he was the perceived victor during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and in 1963, at American University, he gave a speech where he became the first president to speak about Americans' shared humanity with the Soviet Union, which led to the ratification of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in October.

Clearly, Kennedy learned from his mistakes.

This is what has always troubled me about the presidency of Barack Obama. He has remained the same ineffective communicator that he was when first he took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009.

The president is a gifted orator, but this should not be confused with communication. "Here's where we are going and why" is one of the primary functions that all U.S. presidents must serve.

Syria is the latest example of the president's Achilles heel. His failure to effectively communicate, offering instead a half-baked policy to a war-weary nation, has left many of his staunchest supporters bewildered.

During an Aug. 20, 2012, news conference the president stated:

"We have been very clear to the assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus."

But at a Sept. 4, 2013, news conference in Stockholm, the president stated: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line."

The president is either attempting to have it both ways or he doesn't understand the power of the office. When the president of the United States draws a red line, especially related to the use of military force, it is a red line for the world.

While speaking to the American people about Syria, the president did an effective job outlining the atrocities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons, but did little to articulate an endgame should military force become necessary.

Would military strikes make it more difficult or easier for Syria's chemical weapons to fall into the wrong hands? The lessons of history indicate when oppressive regimes are toppled invariably they are replaced by some variation of the same.

I wanted to hear from the president how military action in Syria was not only different from Afghanistan and Iraq, but how would it differ from the post World War II phenomenon of U.S. involvement in nations it did not understand.

Paradoxically, the president has managed to moonwalk on a road paved with gaffes and ineffective communication to reach a glimmer of light that could potentially lead to a diplomatic settlement in Syria. But it depends greatly on the diplomacy of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It remains to be seen if Putin's efforts can rescue the president from the self-induced corner that he has backed himself. If Putin fails, the president will be back at square one -- offering the inconsistent narrative of attempting to maintain what he believes is an international standard through unilateral application.

Article 6 of the Constitution establishes laws and treaties, which includes the United Nations. Under the U.N. Charter Article 2(4), the use of force is allowed only for self-defense or under the U.N. Security Council. The president obviously has neither.

So it's up to Putin to prohibit the president from using his ineffectual communication skills to sell an unpopular policy to a fractured Congress and a lethargic nation that has very little appetite for war.


As I have said before, I disagree with Obama on this issue. However, I am far more disgusted by the righties, including those on this forum, who spend their time and energy waiting for Obama to make a mistake so they can claim that he can't lead.
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reinerehlers



Joined: 25 Jul 2001
Posts: 1041

PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
But that doesn't mean that anecdotes, like the rubber room meme, are important, or even relevant.

Are you brushing off the Rubber Room as irrelevant because Isobars made a good point, or because it is an inaccurate example of unions turning against themselves and their behaviour and appoach?


Last edited by reinerehlers on Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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