Something obama is doing I can get behind
- 03-10-2009, 10:50 AM
Something obama is doing I can get behind
Obama to unveil education plan, no new legislation
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is promoting tighter standards for teachers and a reduced dropout rate for students as part of an education plan that, at least for now, lacks any new legislative component.
Obama plans to call on Americans to educate themselves as well as their children during his appearance Tuesday at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It is his first major speech devoted solely to education since taking office, but officials say he plans neither to detail any requirements to achieve his goals nor to change President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind program.
Instead, a senior administration official said, Obama would speak to the importance of increasing the rigor of the standards in place and challenge states to adopt world-class standards rather than a specific standard. The official would speak only anonymously to preview the president's midmorning speech.
Schools are struggling to meet the existing requirements as millions of residents have lost their jobs and state and local governments have seen tax revenues tighten. Obama's economic stimulus plan includes a $5 billion incentive fund to reward states for, among other things, boosting the quality of standards and state tests — much-needed money for some states.
"I know that talking about standards can make people nervous," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said recently. But he said a high school diploma has to mean something, no matter in which state the student earned it.
Obama advisers say they will use the economic woes as a way to sell the country on his agenda. A second senior administration official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said higher standards would be part of their discussions about how to deal with Bush-era education policy, but not just yet.
White House aides characterized the president's speech on Tuesday as a first step in an agenda to change American schools. Aides say the president will again call for the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020, as well as pre-kindergarten programs that would send children to classrooms prepared to learn.
Obama also planned to continue his support for charter schools, although officials call them "laboratories of innovation." Educators' unions generally oppose charter schools because they divert tax dollars away from public schools, one spot where he splits with the traditionally Democratic Party-backing constituency.
He also was set to draw criticism from unions for his proposals for an "innovative compensation" plan that would pay some teachers more than others. Such a merit-based pay system is anathema to teachers' groups and likely to earn Obama a rebuke.
Other items Obama planned to mention would be a simpler form for federal financial aid to college, increased investment in technology and changes to higher education. All were parts of his campaign platform.
Aides said Obama would not propose new spending during the speech, although he already has taken steps on education. His $787 billion economic stimulus package provides $41 billion in grants to local school districts. He also plans to send $79 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid and another $21 billion for school modernization.
- 03-10-2009, 10:52 AM
Performance based pay for teachers is great, they are often underpaid now but also many teachers totally suck. So this works out well on both sides. Also although I also question some of the value of some charter schools, overall they are a nice idea and by the fact that they are frequently placed in low income areas helps both bring in kids from other areas voluntarily to integrate with them, and also give them a slight leg up and possibly internally motivate the kids to work hard themselves even if they dont get much help from mom and absentee dad.
03-10-2009, 11:13 AM
My problem with performance based pay(for teachers specifically) is it seems a lot of schools do not provide them the necissary tools to receive excellent performance from their students. I've only known a few teachers in my adult life but it always seemed as if any additional teaching they wanted to accomplish was always an out of pocket expense.
03-10-2009, 11:16 AM
True, I know a number as well in similar shoes. But you can't continue to reward failure indefinitely, and there are individual teachers (even in schools that are doing horribly) that still are successful. More $ doesn't always help either, really parental involvement is the biggest piece regardless.
03-10-2009, 11:23 AM
I remember when my step-kids didn't have books to bring home because they had to share them in class. This was in their science and English classes. Just didn't seem possible to me and I actually went to the school thinking they were giving me a story to avoid homework.
03-10-2009, 11:27 AM
Yeah, hmm see thats wrong, but nowadays with computers and the internet what about accessing the books online? thats the way my daughter does for about half o fhers
03-10-2009, 11:55 AM
I agree with Jay that performance-based incentives in these types of public spheres cause a vast array of issues that, at times, are beyond the control of the intended performer!
03-10-2009, 12:00 PM
Oh, i'm not even talking about web based curricula, this is just the books being available online from the publishers, so the kids dont have to bring the books themselves home.
But I agree that while it presents challenges, continuing to reward success equally with failure doesn't tend to bring out the best performers, or provide any motivation for a good teacher to stay in a crappier school
03-10-2009, 12:06 PM
03-10-2009, 12:09 PM
hehehehe true. Just it happens that I guess here in Florida (or even perhaps just my county) that is part of the criteria for the schools to choose books - it has to be electronically available whether online or in PDF format. Its the 21st century man
03-10-2009, 12:12 PM
I know you are a NeoCon-sympathizer [...or principle to its entailments...], and that is not to be derogatory, but I feel we can agree the Government has necessary roles in certain functions of society; in my very personal opinion, I feel that the educatory-institution is one of those spheres of necessary influence. Even in the interests of continuing capital-based economies, a workforce needs to be trained and integrated properly - sharing textbooks does not exactly achieve this.
03-10-2009, 12:14 PM
She is currently teaching intensive reading. These kids are in ninth and tenth grade and some of them are still on an elementary grade level in reading. Some of the stories that she tells me are awful when it comes to these kids' parents and how they act in school. The tools needed just aren't there for the teachers and it seems to be an overwhelming profession.
It's a crisis, IMO.
RcB Since 09-06-2011 20:55 EST, Post 49
03-10-2009, 12:16 PM
I agree that the textbooks should be required to be available, and the federal government should be funding that, however a pdf is as available as paper, and far less expensive to create and distribute. Paper copies for in class, but that means that for 7th grade math for instance, 1 set of 30 books can be used for 180 students (@ 6 classes a day of 30 students), with some amount of copies available as take home loaners, for the kids that don't have computer access. Still far more economically sensible than 180 copies of books, and the poor 9 year old kids having to drag 35lb book bags back and forth from home to school every day
03-10-2009, 03:56 PM
There are a few things the gov't should have a heavy hand in and in my opinion, education should be on top of that list.
03-10-2009, 04:04 PM
I have been a teacher for years and while I understand the basis for merit pay, there are some inherent issues with it.
Unfortunately, there is politics in education and if an administrator (whether district level or building level) has issue with a non tenured, there is no recourse for the teacher. In fact, non tenured teachers have it exceptionally difficult.
It is good specifically for those teachers who are many years in who abuse tenure and the system. Every district has them
03-10-2009, 10:34 PM
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