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  • Bradley Urso

    Damn straight teachers should be paid more! when I look back on my k-12 education its amazing the substantial impact different teachers had on both my interests in a variety of subjects as well as self worth. Its an important profession and one I admire greatly.

  • Edward Eceinco

    About the "Bad Apples", Teachers can be helped and taught too! What we, teachers, need is tools that help us teach like By flipping the classroom we can make all our kids learn quality lessons.

  • Lone Rider

    Getting totally rid of NCLB and it standardized testing would be a huge step. Definately more play (recess) time for all students. Play is how social skills are built, not sitting in a seat for an hour or more at a time. Let teachers' teach curriculum not towards the test.
    Support them totally, not every leader in a school is fit for the position. I have seen many stunts pulled on good teachers to get them to leave. Don't make leadership invincible to being reprimanded.

  • Jerry Wesner

    The same people who say "You can't just throw money at the problem" say "We have to pay a good CEO at least $20,000,000 a year or we might lose him to another company!" Which is it?

  • mandela.schumacher.hodge

    "For one, America can start by giving teachers more voice in policy and practice. Our voices in the decision-making process have been nullified or patronized, an attitude reserved for a woman-dominated profession. Teachers shouldn't just have a seat at the tables currently reserved for wealthy businessmen, technology experts, policy wonks, fresh out-of-the-Ivy-League newbies, and politicians. They should get the opportunity to create the table, creating the consortia, and developing the protocols for how we discuss our profession. Respect for expertise goes a long way towards making teachers feel appreciated." I love this paragraph. However, I think waiting around for those in power to give teachers a seat at the decision-making table is not the right approach. I think teachers have to take it upon themselves to get involved in policy discussions and create a seat at the table for themselves. This was the message I was trying to get across in my article However, one thing I'd like to open up to you and your readers is how do you motivate teachers to want to get more involved in the policy-making process? There are several groups out there (e.g. TeachPlus, YEP, Educators4Excellence, Teachers for Social Justice) and websites (e.g. Tioki) available for teachers to get involved in the broader policy discussion; however, the biggest deterrent I most often times here as to why teachers are not participating is that they "don't have time." As a former district and charter school teacher myself, this rationale resonates with me and I genuinely sympathize with this sentiment. However, how can things get better for teachers, if teachers, themselves, don't demand they get better? Aside from the private conversations teachers have with their colleagues and family members, how do you convince them to invest their time in voicing their concerns and ideas for improvement in the larger public discussion? Thank you for your time and for writing such a thought-provoking piece!

    • Bill Woodruff

      You mention E4E but they are one of the biggest frauds in teacher voice. They work to make sure that teachers have less of a seat at the table through promoting policies that remove that voice. removing tenure, and seniority, promoting more testing and with it teaching to the test instead of educating the whole child. And to top it all off they are sponsored financially by the same Bloomberg, and Gates foundations that write the detrimental policies that sell education to the highest bidder. The exact opposite of what this article promotes.

  • Randy Dutton

    We should appreciate 'good' teachers by getting rid of the 'bad' teachers. Unfortunately, the worst enemy of good teachers are the teachers' unions, which protect the bad ones. In a case I documented at Grays Harbor College where tenured history professor lied (in writing) about history, and admittedly deleted many of the electronic records in the online class, so he could flunk a student, the college did nothing. Why? Probably because the professor is head of the Teachers Union. They wouldn't even address the obvious lies and admitted deletions (during the term).

    • Jerry Wesner

      How could an experience at a private (?) college possibly relate in any way to a public school? Apples and baseballs.

    • Lowie94

      Randy, although you clearly had concerns about one college professor, it's important not to compare apples and oranges. At the university level, tenure really does protect a professor's career. At the K-12 level, tenure is simply the right to respond when a teacher believes he's been unjustly accused. That's all it is -- a voice. The union will do what it can to support a teacher with high potential who is clearly working toward improved performance, but it absolutely will not "protect the bad ones". This is largely a self-weeding population to begin with, since nearly half of all new teachers quickly realize the difficulty of the work and choose to leave the profession within the first five years. We wind up with very few "bad teachers" after that! If one slips through, however, it's because the building administrator decided that teacher was effective, not because the union did.

  • ryanlee

    Teaching is the most important job one could have and the profession of teaching should be viewed as the most prestigious career path in our country. I agree 100% and thank you so much for all you do as a teacher. However, I feel like the bash of charter schools is counterintuitive. Items like compensation, political voice, and work environment need to be improved to attract and retain quality teachers. Those are things that charters have been able to make changes regarding because they don't have to deal with the United Federation of Teachers. For example, in NYC, a DOE teacher receives tenure after their third year. After that, it costs about $250,000 worth of red tape to fire a bad teacher at your school. How does that make sense and how is it good for students if you can't fire a bad teacher? There are amazing teachers in the DOE and charter schools, but teachers should show positive results in their students. Teachers need a collective voice, but the UFT is holding back our future generation and eductaion reform in the US. The voice of our best teachers in the DOE and charters are preaching student's first while the UFT preaches teachers first. Just my opinion and cheers to all kick ass teachers out there!

    • Bill Woodruff

      I encourage you to listen more carefully to what the UFT preaches. Remember a teacher's work conditions are a student's learning conditions. The UFT preaches that teachers should be given the amount of time, resources, and smaller class sizes that are needed to teach our children. And yes thy also say that teachers should have a living wage.
      As was pointed out above 50% of people who enter the profession never become eligible for tenure because they self select to leave when they realize that it is so much harder than the babysitting or tutoring jobs they held in High School. The remaining teachers are granted tenure by the DOE not the Union. The tenure process does not stop a teacher from being fired but allows for teachers to have the power to advocate for their students. Removing the teacher voice from education is the goal of those who speak against tenure. If a teacher does not have the protection to advocate for their students because doing so would mean loosing their jobs does not help students learn better or more. In fact it does the opposite entirely. Teachers who do not have the protections of tenure can be fired capriciously and without cause making teachers not strive to advocate or their students unless it is under the direction of their supervisor.
      I would also like to point out that Charters do not make a sweeping improvement in the retention of quality teachers. Charters are not in unto themselves evil. I myself worked in a charter for a while and loved it. But we need to be wary of those that blindly Union bash, instead of realizing that charters do not perform better nationally than most commiserate public schools. And in NYC the charters have left out large swaths of our neediest students, the students with unstable home lives, students with special needs and students who have not met English as a second language proficiency are largely under served by charters. Part of the reason that they have been able to hold themselves over public schools that do not have the option of counseling families who's children need more support out of the school and back to public schools.
      Please Ryanlee, get your facts more clear before you blindly unon bash

  • Dawn O'Keeffe

    Excellent article! Thank you! We have produced a documentary project called GO PUBLIC: A Day in the Life of an American School District. We followed teachers, students, administrators, support staff and volunteers from sun up to sun down to capture an inside look at a typical day in the life of a public school district. Here are a few of the 4 minute short films that focused specifically on teachers.

    • deb.rudnick

      Fantastic Dawn, thank you for sharing!!