General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Are bad teachers created because it is nearly impossible to fire them after tenure, or are they created by poor acting students?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) January 6th, 2015

There is always the debate about bad teachers, the ones who are apathetic, don’t teach, show no compassion, belittling, and seem to have no interest other than showing up can getting their check. What makes or create bed ineffective teachers? Because they know they virtually cannot get fired after they make tenure they get lazy and uncaring? Do they get uncaring because too many students are rude disrespectful and don’t care to learn? If there were no tenure or it was harder to get, would there be better quality teacher across the board in general?

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40 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I assume we are talking k-12 and not college level.

I think job burn out can happen in any career.

I think most bad teachers weren’t great teachers to begin with. Tenure probably doesn’t make them bad teachers, it just makes it harder to get rid of them. Probably for some tenure decreases their drive to progress with the times or to stay at their tip top.

If they get classroom after classroom of annoying disobedient students, then I would think yes that has a negative affect on their desire to perform well.

I think most teachers care about their students and about teaching.

dxs's avatar

There are a lot of requirements that teachers must follow. They have to make and submit lesson plans, conduct classroom surveys, follow Common Core and other specific guidelines. One former public school teacher once told me that if he was not on a certain page of a book on one specific day (i.e.: page 175 on January 9th), he’d get in trouble. These standards have their benefits—it provides consistency and fairness throughout classrooms and makes school-hopping easier. Since there are all these requirements and book guidelines, teaching is made to be more like a 9–5 (or more appropriately, 7–3) instead of a skill or talent. This takes away from the value of teaching, and perhaps draws a wrong crowd. This problem presented is, of course, a teacher’s limitations, but it’s a double whammy if it also draws the wrong crowd to the profession.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Poor students don’t ‘create’ poor teachers. Tenure doesn’t create poor teachers. Organisational complacency by organisations who list quality teaching as a performance benchmark but then pay it lip service by not adequately rewarding excellent teachers contributes to poor teaching. Similarly, not following up on reports of or evidence of poor teaching and not making it clear that quality teaching is a requirement of a position can result in poor teaching. Not providing adequate ongoing and mandatory training (or in some cases, any teacher training in tertiary settings) contributes to poor teaching.

Poor students because of the acceptance of students who don’t have the ability to complete the work and poor support of staff who try to maintain standards by not responding to issues such as grade creep can all contribute to lack of morale for teachers.
However, it’s really the organisational response to poor students that results in the drop in teaching standards, not the students.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Are poor students that way just because or are they poor acting because they have bad teachers?

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar Some kids are a pain in the ass. They have shitty examples at home, no respect for adults, and seek attention or get out their anger and frustration by acting out. Get enough of those in a classroom and a teacher might become apathetic.

Also, a classroom full of kids very below grade level can be very frustrating too.

I have a friend who taught 7th grade math for one year. She hated it. A big part was she though the people in charge were idiots. Another part was because so many of the children couldn’t do the work. We could argue it was because it was her first year teaching, but this was the situation all teachers experienced with these kids. They didn’t all have bad teachers all the way through 7th grade.

Another friend taught at a junior college a few years. She taught a freshman class. She could not believe how ignorant the kids were. They could barely do the work. They could barely write an essay.

LostInParadise's avatar

We have poor teachers because they are not well trained, they are not well paid, they are looked down upon and they are forced to teach to the test. Whatever dedication they might have brought to their profession is sucked out of them.

Finland does the exact opposite of what we do and they get top scores in international competion. In Finland, teachers are required to get a Masters degree (paid for by the government), they are paid better than here, there is little standardized testiing, there is less homework and teaching is treated is looked upon as a profession like doctors and lawyers.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Well speaking from my own experience I was a poor student, not as in acting up, but rather I often skipped class, skipped entire days, never bothered doing the work, and often times just did not pay attention (preferring instead to do things like scribble little comic strips I created in my notebook). However I had some really piss-poor teachers. One math teacher I had for a couple of years couldn’t even bother to stay awake during the entire period and even flat out stated that he didn’t much care about teaching but it was an easy paycheck for him.

linguaphile's avatar

I was a teacher for 9 years and was raised by a teacher. I also did quite a bit of research on this topic because… it irks me. I quit teaching because I got tired of the system, but I still feel strongly about this. Let me say this loud:

THERE IS NO ONE REASON A TEACHER IS BAD.

Bad teachers come from all SES levels, from different persuasions, backgrounds and education/training opportunities. Some are union-protected, most are not.

I’ve seen mind-bogglingly excellent teachers in the worst performing schools, and the worst teachers I’ve ever come across in “good” schools. I’ve seen teachers who are amazing after just getting a BA, and teachers who have MA +30 that still are embarrassingly awful. I’ve seen teachers who follow the guidelines/benchmarks/curriculum and do well, and others who become robotic and inflexible—then get a wide range of test score results from their students. I’ve seen teachers ditch the whole prescribed system and their students shoot through the roof on test scores, but others that tried that and failed miserably.

I’ve seen what I call paper teachers—they just hand out papers and collect them. They’re empty shells. I’ve seen male teachers who cozy up to vulnerable girl students and keep their jobs. I’ve seen a teacher totally mess up a field trip, and still be working. None of the “bad” teachers have much in common in terms of training, background, education, SES, etc.

What bad teachers have in common include:
—a weak attitude about education in general (which they would defend as satisfactory),
—an inability to try new things or apply new concepts independently,
—a rigidity with methods, concepts, strategies, etc- they think one size fits all
—an inability to connect with people in general—students, parents, coworkers
—a complete lack of understanding of how students learn—they blindly teach from their own brains and are unable to teach/explain/guide from the student’s perspective
—an inability to encourage critical reasoning
—an inability to make connections between ideas to show how the materials being taught are relevant to a student’s life
—they forget there are human beings in their classrooms—they either teach to the back wall and hope something sticks, or they have a ‘me vs. them’ attitude
—a huge library of excuses, explanations, reasons why no—they’re not bad

See that list? See… this sh-t can’t be completely taught in education training programs, but I do hold these training programs responsible for not weeding these folks out.

Again. There is no one, simple answer as to why teachers are bad. Why not do this instead—let’s figure out why great teachers are great, then actually use that to train new teachers instead of banging heads against the ‘bad teacher’ wall.

JLeslie's avatar

@linguaphile I’m curious, do you think giving teachers more money for having a masters is not legitimate? That it should be based on teaching skill, not educations level?

@Darth_Algar I do think more often than not it is the teacher or the system’s fault. I also think possibly school is really not geared for many very young boys. I think that is getting worse and worse. My friends with boys complain about this and I buy into it. I think at 5 they aren’t ready to sit still as much as some schools expect. When I was in kindergarten it was basically a day of playing. We learned while we played. Now they start reading I guess? More like school. I don’t know, I don’t have kids.

My dad was similar to you. Hated the teachers. One time three his work out the window of the classroom in protest. Didn’t learn to read until 3rd grade. He taught himself to read with comic books. Not until jr high did he get a little more interested, because there was a fast track program he got into.

I’m not sure if maybe some of it can be blamed on his home life. He grew up extremely poor and somewhat neglected.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Bad teachers exist for the same reason there are bad doctors, bad policemen, bad priests, bad grocers, etc. Bad teachers just garner more hand wringing and bitching from a society looking for scapegoats when it comes to explaining a wheezing asthmatic educational system taxed with responsibilities The quality of the nation’s teachers may very well be on the decline. I would be shocked if things were otherwise. What smart and talented individual would choose a profession saddled with enormous responsibility, meager compensation and endless blame. The fact never considered when discussing the nation’s teachers is that the schools are the single place where the shortcomings and failures in our society become impossible to ignore. Just as the prisons are now the primary mental health facilities for troubled adults, the schools are now tasked with the remediation of the country’s expanding population of throwaway children. It ain’t gonna work, but somebody’s gotta take the blame. The teaching profession these days has a lot in common with military service. Both are hyped as noble pursuits,but you and I know that they’re jobs for suckers!

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie

Well in my case it wasn’t a problem with being able to sit still, it’s that, for the most part, my teachers failed to engage me. If they weren’t falling asleep in class then they were dull automatons unable to go “off script” (so to speak). Or in some cases they just didn’t seem qualified to teach the subject they were tasked with. Most of my science teachers, for example, didn’t seem to understand the science they were teaching and couldn’t answer any question unless they had the answer printed in front of them. My science teacher for 5th and 6th grades, was the exception and was one of the best teachers overall I had (the best, by far, was my high school art teacher, whom I’m still in contact with to this day).

Because of my overall poor performance one of my teachers tried to suggest that I had a learning disability, until I pulled out and started reading a book I had been reading for my own enjoyment which, according to their one-size-fits-all, think-inside-the-box standards supposedly was several grades above my level (I was reading well before I even entered kindergarten).

kritiper's avatar

Basically, one of my pet peeves. You do only what you are supposed to do, just what your job description mandates and NO MORE! “It’s not my job!”

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar I would guess you have a lot of similarities to my father’s experience.

A teacher or counselor at one point told my dad he wasn’t college material. He has a PhD from Wharton after turning down a fellowship from Yale. All his tertiary education paid by scholarship.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s a combination. One classroom I taught in had a class room, same grade, next to mine. The teacher was deaf, and when the class got too loud he’d just turn off his hearing aid and let them do what they wanted. The kids were wild. But…they couldn’t fire him. What they did was just shuffle the “worst” of the kids into his room to deal with, which is exactly what those kids did not need.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @linguaphile in the sense of rigidity and a one size fits all approach to teaching.
I am a fan of personality theory and the vast majority of teachers as well as the vast majority of military personal show up as the ISTJ temperament. Introverted-sensing-thinking-judging brain stack functions
These types are all about order, conformism, rules, regulations, towing the line. They are not known for their abstract thinking, creativity and ceertainly are not flexible and open types.

I know most of my teachers were, most likely of this temperament when I was in school, and being a bright, creative, intuitive personality ( ENTP extroverted-intuitive-thinking-perceiving ) I struggled with being bored, unmotivated and downright miserable dealing with these types of teachers. I actually had a teacher once that criticized the color I had painted an art object we made in 3rd grade. She thought I painted it the “wrong” color. WTF!
This same teacher also drug me to the bathroom and tried to scrub a birthmark off my arm, thinking it was dirt. LOL

No apology when she discovered gasp I was telling the truth!
If more educators took personality theory to heart and were able to customize learning plans based on natural abilities and strengths our education system would be vastly improved. This is why so many gifted kids become under achievers, they become bored and checked out early in their classroom experiences. I was one of them and think I could classify myself as a gifted under achiever in many ways.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When my daughter was in 2nd grade, lined up to go in from recess, she saw her 5 year old little brother wandering around out on the sidewalk in front of the school. She knew he only went half days, and should have been with the baby sitter. She tried to tell the teacher, but the teacher told her to be quiet. Poor Corrie went all the way into the classroom, sat down…looked out the window again, and again tried to tell the teacher there was a problem. Again the teacher told her to be quiet….so my usually compliant daughter took off, without permission, to rescue her brother, the teacher yelling at her the whole time. She got him safely to the office, where they contacted me. I raised 7 kinds of hell over that! And told my daughter how very proud of her I was.

There are times to break the rules. Glad I was able to instill that in my kids without turning them into defiant law breakers.

Zaku's avatar

I appreciate and agree with what @linguaphile wrote. I went through his list with some of the bad teachers I had in mind, and all the points matched those teachers. Of a new teacher who started bad and got a lot better, he had improved in some of those areas.

ragingloli's avatar

Based on a conversation I had in the chat recently, it is because in the colonies you do not have to have a degree in teaching, only a degree in the field you want to teach, if even that.
So based on that, it is the absence of professional training.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@LostInParadise We have poor teachers because they are not well trained, they are not well paid, they are looked down upon and they are forced to teach to the test.
To me, and people cringe when I say it, that is another example why every school private, charter, or public needs to go on a voucher system. If you make the money follow the kid and not the neighborhood, schools who want to keep their head count up are not going to have uneducated, dull as dishwater teachers. All the ”teach-to-the-test” bull pucky will go out the window. Even now, in comparison to other professions, teachers get paid well. Many other people have to work 8–10 hours a day on the clock. I suspect teachers at best are 7 hours on the clock not to mention all the holiday off they get that other people don’t get, and that is before getting three months off in the summer, two at Christmas, and Spring Break.

@linguaphile _ an inability to try new things or apply new concepts independently,_
a rigidity with methods, concepts, strategies, etc- they think one size fits all
Sounds like an institutional problem where there is no incentive to be different because it doesn’t matter, the kids are stuck going to where they are going because of the neighborhood. The school is only concerned with federal dollars for those kids in that neighborhood.

a rigidity with methods, concepts, strategies, etc- they think one size fits all
Another failing of the system, I still do not know math because the method taught to me did not make since. I did not even begin to grasp fractions until I took a woodworking class and was able to see the relationship on the ruler.

@Darth_Algar Because of my overall poor performance one of my teachers tried to suggest that I had a learning disability, until I pulled out and started reading a book I had been reading for my own enjoyment which, according to their one-size-fits-all, think-inside-the-box standards supposedly was several grades above my level (I was reading well before I even entered kindergarten).
So, they tried that with you too, huh?

@Dutchess_III She tried to tell the teacher, but the teacher told her to be quiet.
Don’t you watch TV and movies? It is all about those kids trying to get over on the teacher and the teachers can’t let them, if the teacher gets punked once they will be poo poo, and not respected. No matter what, the teacher cannot lose respect and control even if some toddler will get ran over. ~~

johnpowell's avatar

Part of the problem too is that it isn’t like there are a ton of teachers applying for open positions. It really isn’t hard to get a job in a middle school teaching. The supply is thin. If you want the best maybe you need to start thinking about paying up so the best actually have a incentive to teach.

I’m talking k-12 here, not universities.

And Loli. Whoever said that is wrong. You do need to be certified in education to teach k-12 in the colonies. My roommate taught high school and was required to have a teaching certificate. But you don’t at universities.

talljasperman's avatar

I believe that the curriculum is too difficult for kids to learn. I failed out of physics grade 12 and I can make a nuke if I need to… just harvest dirt for key ingredients and strap to an explosive. Boom. And the teacher flunked me because I was interested in time travel.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@johnpowell Or kidnapped, raped and murdered. Jesus I was so hot over that!

@talljasperman Why did you opt for such a difficult class in grade 12? And time travel is not possible, so if you fixated on that, instead of the subject, I imagine you failed a lot of the tests.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@talljasperman ” I can make a nuke if I need to… just harvest dirt for key ingredients and strap to an explosive.”

Uhhh, yeah, I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Organisational complacency by organisations who list quality teaching as a performance benchmark but then pay it lip service by not adequately rewarding excellent teachers contributes to poor teaching. Similarly, not following up on reports of or evidence of poor teaching and not making it clear that quality teaching is a requirement of a position can result in poor teaching. Not providing adequate ongoing and mandatory training (or in some cases, any teacher training in tertiary settings) contributes to poor teaching.
All that to me is cured by attaching the money to the student. Schools with poor teachers whom no parent wants their kid taught by will either be made to improve or fired. If school ‘A’ is competing with school ‘B’ on an even footing, then it had better have something the other school doesn’t offer or have the same but better.

@johnpowell Part of the problem too is that it isn’t like there are a ton of teachers applying for open positions.
If I had the choice of flowing the elephants at the circus with the large shovel and being a teacher, I’d go for the circus. In this age of hysteria if I flunked a student male or female and concocted some rumor, my career would be permanently damage even if I manage to escape prison, and that is not a guarantee. People will more want to believe the lie of a disgruntled student before a decorated teacher.

dxs's avatar

@johnpowell Certification =/= having a degree in education, even though there are parts of the test that cover education topics.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Vouchers will most likely raise private school tuition. It also will still leave the poor at a disadvantage. There won’t be a school bus to take them to their school out of their district.

Also, if people are going to get to take their money out of the public school for their children, maybe those of us without kids should get to not pay in at all. Then the whole system will fall apart. I’m not using my tax dollars to fund private schools. Or, did you mean just have choice within the public school system? I am fine with that idea, but there is problems with it usually. If the schools get overcrowded the child who wants to attend from out of district is denied.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

This is an issue involving factors as diverse as the number of people. Everyone has a number of reasons why they excel or fail at their chosen profession. It is really quite narrow to put it down to one or another cause.

linguaphile's avatar

@JLeslie I think having a Master’s helps—that’s 30 more credits of information that might feed a teacher’s toolbox.

However, I don’t think a Master’s means that a teacher can teach any better than with a Bachelor’s. It just means they can write papers about advanced education theories- whether they apply the theories is very individualized. I have a Master’s in deaf education—I thought it would make a difference, attending intensive education classes with more involved and specialized cohorts, but no… they were actually less enthusiastic than my cohorts in my BA classes.

I never heard the phrase, “Just jump those hoops,” when I took BA level education courses, but heard it quite often while in my MA program. To be fair, I’ve taken MA classes in TESOL programs—they were much more enthusiastic and involved than my cohorts in deaf education were.

@Dutchess_III That’s so sad about the deaf teacher… That sounds like a frustrating situation all around. I taught at schools for deaf kids for 9 years, and my colleagues and I never had problems keeping them focused, so it wasn’t the kids, but something else that wasn’t working. My heart breaks that these kids didn’t benefit from school—that has such long term implications… :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know @linguaphile . They were just thrown away their 5th grade year.

I think being a good teacher comes naturally. Either you got it or you don’t. It’s like anything else, science, math, music, whatever. Either it comes naturally and easily for you or you have to fight to learn it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie Vouchers will most likely raise private school tuition.
That could happen, so what? A private school can raise prices but they can price themselves out of the range of many students they would have had. Plus, if they did not have anything better to offer for the high price, they might further harm themselves, as the money followed the kids many public schools will get better if not equal to the private school so they would have to stay low enough to compete.

Also, if people are going to get to take their money out of the public school for their children, maybe those of us without kids should get to not pay in at all.
That would be impossible, right now they could because the money is tied to the district or neighborhood, if all schools everywhere were vouchered the money would be attached to the students, the only way to take money from a school would be to not have your child go there, people without children pay for schools now through this tax or that, nothing changes there.

I’m not using my tax dollars to fund private schools. Or, did you mean just have choice within the public school system?
You would not be funding private schools. You would not be funding public schools, you would be funding students. The child will go where he and his parents chose to go. Since there will always be a certain number of seats in a classroom, no child will get left without a school. Those schools who want better students are to have enough students will have to compete across the board with every other school as far as the lunch they serve, safety, class material, good teachers, up to date science labs, gyms, computer labs etc. Those who are better at doing that, be they private or public, are the ones the kids will want to go to, hence, they are bring the money (voucher) that is attached to them, to that school; private or public.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central If the tuition is raised, it effectively means the poor still can’t afford it. Let’s say tuition per student is $12k now per year. That doesn’t even count the shit load of money parents are asked to contribute during the year for fundraiser, field trips and other events. Then, the government decides, we’ll give $8k in a voucher to parents. Yoohoo!! The school realizes, hey we can raise our prices at least $4k and the kids already attending still are paying less out of their pocket. Now tuition is $16k the poor person with the $8k voucher in their hand can’t afford another $8k and so the poor are still in that same old public school. Now that public school has less attention given to it, less money, and less variety of social class and less chance of diversity most likely, but not always.

I don’t want my tax money funding Christian evangelical schools. Some other religions I don’t have a problem with, but it’s all or none of course, and I feel fundamentally it’s a huge breach of separation of church and state for tax money to fund religious schools.

I would assume you can’t just think in terms of money per student, because there is a tipping point where the school closes down. A school built for 1,000 kids drops to 500, probably the economies of scale don’t work and it becomes difficult to keep that building open. Then the kids who live near the school wind up having to be bused.

If tons of children flock to private schools, and public education deminishes, I don’t see any evidence of that panning out well for a country. The most prosperous countries have strong public systems. We used to be one of them. I firmly believe our ideals to educate all children made us a better country economically, safety, and even integrity. When I look around the world the countries that rely heavily on private education don’t look so good to me. Is that the example we want to follow? It seems like going backwards. Maybe you can name a few countries that have employed vouchers, or allow students to take money out of the public school system, that are countries you would consider living in or to hold out as an example for education for it’s population? Or, maybe you have examples of a few states that have done it that have had a lot of success?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie e.
Then, the government decides, we’ll give $8k in a voucher to parents.
Therein lies the significant difference how I would implement a voucher system, the parents would never get the voucher directly. That would be waste and ill effective. The voucher would be there in a since whatever the powers that be wanted to place on the student, say for instance 10k, that would be for *every child under say a 300k a year family level, or what is determined to have no chance at a private education.

The school realizes, hey we can raise our prices at least $4k and the kids already attending still are paying less out of their pocket. Now tuition is $16k the poor person with the $8k voucher in their hand can’t afford another $8k and so the poor are still in that same old public school
So swanky school raises their prices, maybe many of their students who are just hanging in there by the skin of their teeth financially will be cleaved off. If Crappy Public School #3 has maximum space for 800 kids at 10k apiece that is 8 mil that school has the potential to have, but let’s say Mediocre School #2 decide to punch up the lunch program, add some exciting after school programs and get modern books, plus fix the lockers. They have maximum capacity for 650 students, that would be 6.5 mil earning potential that school can generate. But what if they were only at 492 kids, but because they are vamping up they can attract some kids from Crappy School #3, So-so School #6, and maybe some who got chucked off the private school when the tuition was raised. Now maybe Mediocre School #2 is filling the seats up to 648 kids they gained 156 kids totaling $1,560.000. That means next semester they can do even more improvements. Crappy School #3 if they do not want to lose any more heads (students) they have to do something to compete with Mediocre School #2 which is transforming into a So-so School and maybe even a Good School. Crappy School will have to get better, more exciting teachers, fix the gym, add a science lab, SOMETHING, if they want to win their students back and glean some more from around the area. Then the next school will have to improve to stay in the hunt, and so forth, and so forth.

I don’t want my tax money funding Christian evangelical schools. Some other religions I don’t have a problem with, but it’s all or none of course,
Ah……a glimmer of truth, you are afraid anything like that will fund schools you disapprove of in spite the education found there. If a kid and get a quality education in a Christian based school or have a crappy secular based education, you would leave him/her to their crappy education.

I would assume you can’t just think in terms of money per student, because there is a tipping point where the school closes down.
So what? Is it better to keep pumping money into ineffective schools hemorrhaging money and producing poor students? If a school can’t compete it should die and close, why are people so against bailing out business thought of as too big to fail and not want to let fail schools too lousy to keep open?

Then the kids who live near the school wind up having to be bused.
If all schools were allowed to compete as on an open market like movie theaters, cell phone companies, etc. they may find the better school is not in their backyard anyhow, and would require travel. I think for a better education that will make it easier to get into college or a scholarship some people would be willing to travel.

If tons of children flock to private schools, and public education deminishes, I don’t see any evidence of that panning out well for a country.
The only way that would happen is there would have to be such a glut of private schools they would be like Starbucks, then they all could not command the high price you aforementioned. That would make private school on par price wise with public school and I cannot see how students would lose there.

When I look around the world the countries that rely heavily on private education don’t look so good to me. Is that the example we want to follow?
So, we keep what we see has not worked? Look at the test scores of nations and where the US ranks. Many of the nations whose students beat the stuffing out of Yankee kids spend less per student than we. Is this the example to continue using?

Maybe you can name a few countries that have employed vouchers, or allow students to take money out of the public school system,..]
Again, the money never leaves the system, X amount of that money is assigned to a certain student no matter what school they go to, where they go, that X amount of money follows them, not get stuck in the neighborhood

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not talking about money actually be handed to the parents. WTF does it matter if the school gets the money directly from the government or if it gets the money from a parent who got it from a government check? Stop dwelling on that. The private school is getting the tax money period for the student. In essence that lowers the tuition for the parent, assuming the school doesn’t raise tuition the same amount as the government check.

There are countries showing strong test scores among students and they all have string public school systems. Maybe we should look at that? From what I can tell there is no country with a strongly funded private system that we can hold up as an example, is there?

The south is full of places with lots of private schools and from what I have observed it harms the public school system.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ From what I can tell there is no country with a strongly funded private system that we can hold up as an example, is there?
I am not advocating supporting private school over private or subsidizing public schools just because they are public. If the money followed the student, it will make no difference in the long run.

The south is full of places with lots of private schools and from what I have observed it harms the public school system.
If the cash was following the student and not the neighborhood, public schools would get better. There will only be so many desks at even a private school before the classes get so crowded that the advantage they are supposed to have will be nullified.

cazzie's avatar

Finland. Pay the teachers what they are worth. Fund the schools properly. Train them to teach not just retain knowledge to spit out at kids in a classroom. It actually costs less to educate in Finland per student than in the US, but that probably has more to do with other systemic rot that ends up affecting all institutions in the US, like bloated healthcare costs and liability insurance and legal fees.

Last I checked, the last system of tenure exists ONLY in universities and even those professors can be sidelined and even fired. ‘Tenure’ is not some magical title that makes them untouchable.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie There is still tenure k-12 in the US. It varies by state. Some states got rid of it. The states that have it, many of them have been reevaluating what exactly tenure gives a teacher.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Teachers have tenure here in Kansas, and they’re pretty much “untouchable.”

linguaphile's avatar

My husband moved his son to a different high school and he started last week. I asked him how his teachers were at the new school (smaller charter school). His exact words were: “You know how teachers are most of the time—they say ‘I don’t care if you turn in your work or not, I don’t care if you pass, it’s all up to you.’ Well, I was surprised… my new teachers aren’t like that. They care about every student in class, care about how we’re doing. That’s really different and I like it.”

I think a lot of teachers are corralled by the system, administrators are afraid to step outside of their legal/political boxes, School boards are made up of people who haven’t spent a day in front of a classroom enforcing policies created by legislators who have no idea what education’s all about. Example… that farce of a law—“No Child Left Behind.” was the brainchild of a speech therapist, not a teacher. Put actual educators in place as policymakers and it will be very different.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When they say that kind of thing @linguaphile what they mean is, “All of this is here for you, not for me. I have my college education. I have my career. I’ll make my class as interesting and relevant as possible, but if you choose not to learn, then that is your problem, not mine. It is all up to you.” They’re putting the responsibility back onto the student’s shoulders. Student’s who may have been taught that “whatever” is always someone elses fault.

I totally agree with your second paragraph.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Also, I can’t help but wonder what question he asked that caused the teacher to say that. I’ve had kids say, “What you gonna do if I don’t turn in my home work??” like a challenge. Not saying your step son said anything like that, but it does happen.

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