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Teachers Union Takes On Tenure

by Hugh McQuaid | Jan 3, 2012 2:40pm
(24) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education, Labor

Hugh McQuaid Photo

CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine

The state’s largest teachers union didn’t shy away from overhauling the tenure system and teacher evaluation process Tuesday when it released its reform plan at a Capitol press conference.

The report, titled “A View From The Classroom,” cautioned lawmakers from passing legislation that could lead to teachers being arbitrarily fired, but said the current tenure system is outdated and must be streamlined.

“In some cases we have seen where people have sort of slipped through the cracks. So one of our main concerns is that everyone is held to the highest standard and that everyone is in fact evaluated on a regular basis,” CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine said.

Loftus Levine said it was time to take a fresh look at the dismissal process for under-performing teachers. Under the current law it takes a minimum of 120 days to dismiss a teacher, she said. The process is expensive and prolonged by the fact that it can involve up to three arbitrators and several lawyers, she said.

“Trying to get the calenders straightened out just to hold hearings sometimes becomes very burdensome and can bog down the process,” she said.

The report recommends shortening that process to around 85 days and reducing the cost of the hearings by requiring only one arbitrator.

Last month, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released his education priorities for the upcoming legislative session and signaled that teacher tenure is among the issues he wants addressed.

Malloy said he would be looking to introduce legislation that “ensures that our schools are home to the very best teachers and principals — working within a fair system that values skill and effectiveness over seniority and tenure.”

Education Department Commissioner Stefan Pryor, who made an unannounced appearance at the press conference, said the CEA addressed every aspect of the governor’s principles.

“You see very thoughtful responses on the issue of seniority and tenure and their relationship to the system and the possibility of reform,” he said of the report.

Pryor said that he has been communicating with the CEA and has found there are more areas of agreement between the Malloy administration and the union than there are “wedge issues.” He declined to discuss what the areas of disagreement might be.

In November, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents offered a report that recommended offering teachers five-year contracts and getting rid of tenure all together. CEA’s recommendations still allow for teachers to get tenure after four years. Loftus Levine said there was no discussion of changing that four-year threshold.

Levine said that it was important that the reforms to the tenure system be closely tied to changes to how teachers are evaluated. The report said that there is currently no mechanism that requires teacher evaluations be done effectively and consistently. Levine said part of the necessary reform will be to ensure that all teachers are in fact evaluated. She recommended annual evaluations.

Currently, evaluations are generally done by a teacher’s direct supervisor. Levine said the union wants to see the performance assessments expanded to include the input of a teacher’s peers.

The report said the evaluations should not be based solely on the results of standardized student testing.

“We believe that it shouldn’t be all about test scores and we know that the public is getting a little tired of the feeding frenzy and the obsession with standardized test,” Levine said.

Instead, evaluations should look at multiple indicators of a teacher’s performance like their planning and organizational skills as well as classroom management and peer interaction, she said. They should also consider how well a teacher interacts with other instructors and what sort of extra-curricular responsibilities they take on, she said.

“People play various roles within their schools as mentors, as teacher leaders, and we think everything should count,” she said.

Not everyone agrees that testing results should not be the most important aspect of evaluating teacher effectiveness. Last month, the state learned that it would not be among those awarded $49.99 million in Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge funding. It was the third time the state missed out on the funding from the federal Race to the Top program.

Patrick Riccards, CEO of the private, non-profit education reform group ConnCAN, said that the states that have benefited the most that program are the ones that significantly rely on standardized testing results for evaluations. He said it’s important that those scores aren’t lost in teacher assessments.

“At the end of the day the most effective way to know whether our schools are succeeding or not is to know if our kids are succeeding and that needs to be the primary measure,” he said.

Riccards praised the CEA report however, which he said focused on the right topics and put forth some important ideas.

The report also addressed how the state should improve the formula it uses to determine how much state funding goes to local school systems. The report said the state should increase its funding of the Education Cost Sharing grant program which leaves local property taxpayers to foot too much of the cost of education.

If the state can not afford to fully fund the program it should increase its funding over time, she said.

“If we know where we’re going we can set up a way to get there that’s reasonable and that we don’t just keep tinkering and fooling with the formula so that it is so out of whack that it really doesn’t make anybody happy,” she said.

Levine said more current data should be used in the formula when it determines the wealth level of different towns. Currently, it uses 10 year-old census data, she said. The state should also consider how it wants to define poverty and wealth for the purposes of education funding, she said.

The report said that lawmakers should not consider proposals that try to fold special education costs into the ECS program. Instead, lawmakers should try to find ways to reimburse districts with excess special education costs, which are unpredictable and put an unfair burden on local budgets, according to the report.

Also at the press conference were representatives of the American Federation of Teachers, or AFT Connecticut. The organization agrees with most of the proposals put forth by the CEA. AFT Connecticut will not be releasing its own recommendations on how to move the process forward, but it does have a seat at the table as the dialogue continues.

Malloy will hold a workshop on education reform at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, in preparation for the upcoming legislative session which he said will be focused on the topic of education.

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(24) Comments

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 3, 2012  6:31pm

How come no talk about parent accountability.If you got rid of all of the bad teachers today,You will still have a achievement gap.It starts with parents!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tJGKrKEUgE&feature=related

posted by: gutbomb86 | January 3, 2012  7:19pm

gutbomb86

Yeah, threefifths, parenting is part of the problem for educators who try to teach unprepared children. That’s no secret and a lot of discussion is aimed at the lack of parenting skills, etc. That’s fine.

Unfortunately, you can’t legislate better parenting, and you can’t simply give up on students because they have lousy parents, passing them through the system unprepared. In fact, doing so enables the cycle to continue. But successfully teaching at-risk children is easier said than done. However, that’s also no excuse to dump on teachers or whine about taxes and teacher salaries and that is unfortunately what we hear from many people out there.

From what I’ve just read above it appears that Connecticut is on the verge (once again) of an historic compromise aimed at improving education. That’s fantastic.

posted by: brutus2011 | January 3, 2012  7:39pm

brutus2011

There needs to be a radical change in how we manage our public schools.

This proposal only modifies, and does not change, the current system that all are claiming to want to change.

My proposal is to:

Invert + multiply or flip-

That means put teachers in charge the curriculum of each building.

Hire business managers to make sure that non-education issues are taken care of: security, food service, custodial service, etc.

Totally eliminate the layers of management above the classroom that is inefficient in so many ways.

I know a lot of people make a great living and are looking forward to equally great pensions.

Sorry folks, but it is time for you to go.

My question to the CEA, the AFT and all local teacher’s unions is: why have you not proposed this and why do not fight for teachers instead of caving in to “Peter Principle” of managing public education?

Public education is not working.

Privatization is going to be even worse.

We need to do more with less.

Why not use an already highly trained group of educators to their logical capacity?

Teachers!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 3, 2012  9:02pm

@gutbomb86.You said Unfortunately, you can’t legislate better parenting, and you can’t simply give up on students because they have lousy parents, passing them through the system unprepared.Then is it fair to legislate that a teacher should lose there job if the students don’t perform.Sorry we are letting parents off of the hook.A teacher can’t not be expected to teach if that student has home problems to deal with.I will bet you that even if you got rid of all bad teachers,The students will be the same.Here is a good book to read.

Class Dismissed

Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality

by John Marsh

In Class Dismissed, John Marsh debunks a myth cherished by journalists, politicians, and economists: that growing poverty and inequality in the United States can be solved through education. Using sophisticated analysis combined with personal experience in the classroom, Marsh not only shows that education has little impact on poverty and inequality, but that our mistaken beliefs actively shape the way we structure our schools and what we teach in them.

Rather than focus attention on the hierarchy of jobs and power—where most jobs require relatively little education, and the poor enjoy very little political power—money is funneled into educational endeavors that ultimately do nothing to challenge established social structures, and in fact reinforce them. And when educational programs prove ineffective at reducing inequality, the ones whom these programs were intended to help end up blaming themselves. Marsh’s struggle to grasp the connection between education, poverty, and inequality is both powerful and poignant.


This well-researched and well-argued book chillingly illustrates the toxic effects of growing inequality in contemporary U.S. society by revealing how educational opportunity and the myth of meritocracy carries more of people’s hopes and dreams than its shoulders can bear. Class Dismissed is a powerful treatise towards explaining the hidden and not-so-hidden costs of economic inequality and why abolishing poverty would be the best thing we can do to increase equality of educational opportunity…. John Marsh makes a bold and courageous case for a politics of economic justice.

—Peter McLaren, author, Capitalists and Conquerors; professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California,
Los Angeles

At a moment when the increasing inequality of American life is almost universally blamed on the failures of our schools, nothing could be more timely than this powerful demonstration that bad education has not produced the growing gap between the rich and the poor and that better education will not reduce it. If you really want less poverty, Marsh argues, don’t give poor people more advanced degrees, give them more money—and help them join unions.

—Walter Benn Michaels, professor of English, University of Illinois, Chicago

John Marsh asks some uncomfortable but necessary questions about the current drive for mass college education. In a clear, persuasive, and troubling account, he shows that education is not the cure-all, as it is advertised by many across political lines. A must-read for those thinking about higher education.

—Jeffrey J. Williams, co-editor, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism; professor of literary and cultural studies, Carnegie Mellon University

John Marsh is assistant professor of English at Penn State University. In addition to many articles and reviews, he is the author of Hog Butchers, Beggars, and Busboys: Poverty, Labor, and the Making of Modern American Poetry, and the editor of You Work Tomorrow: An Anthology of American Labor Poetry, 1929-1941, which won the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 3, 2012  10:56pm

Don’t forget.Education Department Commissioner Stefan Pryor comes from New York.Once they end Teacher Tenure,they are going to do to you what they did to the Teachers in New York.They will put all of you in the Rubber Room.

http://www.rubberroommovie.com/

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | January 4, 2012  10:46am

GoatBoyPHD

Regional vouchers for public, private and parochial schools. Let the people vote with their feet. Let the money follow the child through the parent. Restore true choice, not union approved or superintendent approved choice. Real choice is consumer choice!

The great part about vouchers? People use them and want more of them when they have them. The other great thing? They don’t have to use them. It’s voluntary!

Support the supers in the quest for 5-year contracts. Teaching should see new blood constantly. Supers should be free to right-size and align staffs with changing needs and performance not aligning staff based on tenure restrictions and Masters +30 teacher salary incentive programs.

Mandate 5% 401K matching to encourage teacher mobility.

Encourage innovation in Charter and Private schools. Compete! Compete! Compete!

Most of all—reject the notion that the classroom model that works in Avon is a one-size-fits-all appropriate model for Hartford. It isn’t in all cases. New models need exploration on a competitive budget.

The old model: transplant the Avon model into Hartford and supplement it with more money and services to make up for bad parenting. Absolutely ineffective. Proven so. Over and over nationally.

Stop the madness! Create a whole new model! Serve more kids, for longer days, from an earlier age and put the union and superintendent-concerned self-interest out to pasture once and for all. They had their chance to succeed.

Get the new model working then reintroduce unions and Supers.

Loftus Levine has no shame. None! Do your job in the inner cities first then talk about contracts, job duties,  and benefits.

The fundamnetal question—when push comes to shove where do $200,000 superintendent salaries and pensions rank on the list of Dan Malloy’s priorities? And where does the Union fit?

In last place you say? As it should be.

Will Malloy play patty cake with the Unions and Supers first (as he did with SEBAC last year?).

Oh. I see. Reforms and results rank that low on the Malloy agenda.

posted by: lkulmann | January 4, 2012  11:13am

Regular Ed is not my forte, SpEd is.  In Waterbury the teachers are cheating FOR the students..the Regular Ed students…that is a cry for help. When kids cheat on tests its because they are unprepared, overwhelmed, disinterested etc…maybe the teachers are unprepared,overwhelmed, or disinterested etc…does anyone ever ask them what they need for success in the classroom? Sounds like mismanagement here just like next door over at DSS… I feel a trend starting in CT…feel it???

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 4, 2012  12:07pm

Check this out. Can ConnCAN Con Conn.? Money, Power and Politics: The unseemly underside of the Education Reform Debate. Also known as the not so subtle relationship between ConnCAN and Achievement First. Read the rest:

http://jonpelto.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/can-conncan-con-conn-2/

posted by: brutus2011 | January 4, 2012  12:45pm

brutus2011

Consider the viewpoint at the following link

posted by: gutbomb86 | January 4, 2012  1:02pm

gutbomb86

@threefifths - it looks like you copy-pasted someone’s book review? but it doesn’t suggest anywhere that we can legislate better parenting or that we should allow the public education system to give up on the students because they have lousy parents.

When you say “we are letting parents off the hook” it sounds like you have an idea on how to keep parents on the hook or otherwise force them to be better parents. How would you suggest we do that?

Are you suggesting that parents should be held accountable for the their children’s failure to get good grades? If so, how would you do that?

posted by: BK | January 4, 2012  3:12pm

amazing

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | January 4, 2012  3:28pm

GoatBoyPHD

The incestuous relationship between ConnCAN and Achievement First is another reason I advocate parental vouchers for public, parochial and private schools.

Replacing one corrupt and ineffective single sourcing lock up agreement with another is no real solution.

CT needs a period of time to let the free market do what it does best.

Regulate it? Sure. Innovation requires some risks and those risks are manageable given the current failure in inner city schools.

Vouchers. Public, private and parochial. Let Achievement first compete with other similar entities on a level playing field.

THREEFIFTHS: You hit another pet theory that is getting traction: States like CT suffer from the failure to maintain or create a diverse economy that accommodates less educated adults. Throwing money at students who will never be MBA or College material and pretending they are is a waste of taxpayers money. Better to spur diverse job creation of all types including blue collar and manufacturing and construction.

Granted lower wage job creation spurs a certain cynicism but it does deliver the goods to a segment of the population that is not academically inclined.

It’s one of the reason High School to work programs are more successful in growing state economies where construction and manufacturing and blue collar jobs are thriving. CT manufacturing? No one is seriously going to relocate here given the regulatory climate for manufacturing. There are states where low cost shovel-ready building lots are pre-approved by regulators and marketed by the states economic council. They know that state permitting won’t cost them a day of delay or ‘gotcha’ after-the-fact lawsuits from DEEP. Virgin land helps as does a build here mentality.

Virgin land in CT? Check into Jackson Labs to get into how and where the Virgin Land is handled for growth in CT.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 4, 2012  4:42pm

gutbomb86 | January 4, 2012 12:02pm

@threefifths - it looks like you copy-pasted someone’s book review? but it doesn’t suggest anywhere that we can legislate better parenting or that we should allow the public education system to give up on the students because they have lousy parents

If you notice I said read the book.I did copy parto of the book to show that as John Marsh said by that it is a waste of time to keep puting more money into this system if you don’t deal with the problems that the students come from.Did you look at the you tubewith Bill Cosby.I don’t agree with him on everyting.Buy I do agree parent accountability is the first step.Education starts at home.It is the parents job to make sur that homework is done and hand in on time.It is the parents job to handle behavior problems.It is the preants job when call to come up to the school when called about there children.Have you set in on any of the schools.I did.I saw what teachers have to deal with.It took one teachers 15 min. to get the students to settle down.A friend of mine who teachs was told by one of his students,Who the hell are you to call my Mother you know what I mean house.You don’t every call my house N word.My friend did call his house again and as he was talking to the mother.He took the phone from her and said What is it N-word you don’t understand.i told you not to call here.I know a teacher who son was beat up in the mall and was told you mother the B-word gives to much homework.Education starts at the home.

Are you suggesting that parents should be held accountable for the their children’s failure to get good grades? If so, how would you do that?

I would do it like they are doing in some states.

Motherlode

Whose Failing Grade Is It?

By LISA BELKIN

Published: May 20, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/style/motherlode-whose-failing-grade-is-it-childs-or-parents.html

posted by: gutbomb86 | January 5, 2012  2:42am

gutbomb86

@threefifths - I’m familiar with Cosby’s frustration with parents and have actually spent some time working with at-risk kids. You’re trying to make it seem like the gov’t can magically transform bad parents into good parents and that’s unrealistic. In fact, it’s worse than unrealitistic - it ignores the fact that some parents simply aren’t fit to be parents, but are not abusive in any way. They are never going to be separated from their children simply for being uneducated parents. You will never convince anyone - particularly a parent - that it would be a good idea to give a school administrator the power to levy fines for their child’s bad grades or behavior. It’s not going to happen.

Seriously, some of these things you’re citing as solutions are just a little ridiculous and don’t really have much to do with reforming tenure.

So when the parent also gets a “failing grade” and doesn’t care what the school thinks of their level of education, what’s next? Who gets to tell them how to be a better parent? A school administrator? A 25-year-old teacher? When a parent is fined $500 for their failure to make sure their child is a good student, but doesn’t have the $500 to pay the fine, what’s next? Will the gov’t take the family’s car so that the parent(s) can’t get to work? Or will the money for the fine come out of the money that pays for groceries for the child? Or does that mean the gov’t should give the family lots of unrestricted money to better themselves?

You cite some problems in the classroom because of difficult kids who act out. This is called mainstreaming - those problem kids are included in with the higher achievers so that they are not denied the opportunity to get the same level of instruction or the same quality learning environment. Critics say the problem kids then drag down the rest, and many teachers are inclined to agree that the end result is bad - no one learns. Conversely, problem kids can benefit from the better environment. Mainstreaming probably works for kids who are capable of sitting in a classroom together - kids achieving at levels A and B, maybe even A, B, and C. But adding D and F kids with severe behavior problems or a propensity for violence to those A, B, and C groups is just as much a crime against higher achievers as it would be to segregate problem kids into their own special ed classrooms, the way it used to be. But that’s an educational policy that can be changed. Regardless, it’s a separate issue. You can’t replace parents through legislation or force them to improve themselves. It can’t be done. It shouldn’t be done unless there is actual abuse. That’s not to say Cosby’s message isn’t a good one - it is. But it’s appropriate that it’s coming from him as a member of the community, rather than from him in a role as a gov’t servant.

I’m sorry but that NYTimes piece is just full of pie in the sky legislative nonsense. Totally disconnected from reality. Are they suggesting that parents lose custody of their child (to be turned over to whom, the state?) because the child is an undiagnosed dyslexic or has a behavior problem? What if the child is simply not very bright but has nuturing, educated parents? The kid’s behavior is good, but his/her grades are bad? Do you want to levy a fine for those parents as well? Should it be the vice principal who decides to write a ticket for bad parenting? Who gets the money from the fine? Will a 3rd or 4th offense lead to prison time for the parent? The story above is about reforming tenure to cull the bad teachers and promote the good. It appears that stakeholders all around the issue are willing to come to the table.

posted by: gutbomb86 | January 5, 2012  3:30am

gutbomb86

And by the way, teachers and school administrators often do reach out to help parents and are able to assess whether a student has a nurturing environment or needs more help. There are tons of after school programs and now some schools are in session until 5 p.m. to provide a full day of programming… thereby taking the child away from the parent for longer periods during the day.

The summer breaks are being shortened in some schools because they find that the long time off sets back the kids who are in low income homes a lot further than those in the high income homes who get to travel and continue to learn new things through the summer. The poor kids watch television, etc. and often are not in a nurturing situation.

But no matter how you slice it, you can’t legislate better parenting. It’s not going to happen. And educators worth their salt are not willing to simply give up on problem kids because of bad parenting or a lack of parenting, because those kids still have to take the tests and the system penalizes the school systems that socially promote or otherwise allow those kids to pass through the system without learning. Dealing with kids who act out is the hard part of teaching. But it’s part of the gig - if teachers can’t handle that they’re in the wrong profession.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 5, 2012  9:27am

@gutbomb86 Parents can’t simply abandon their responsibilities at the school gate. Like it or not Teachers are not receiving the support they need from parents to assist them in maintaining high standards of pupil behaviour.Are you saying that a parent has no parent accountability for the behaviour of there child.Give me a break.All studies show that education starts at home.The problem students that you talk about are not the problem of the school system,They are the problems of the system out side of the school You talk about dealing with kids who act out is the hard part of teaching. But it’s part of the gig - if teachers can’t handle that they’re in the wrong profession.The job of the teacher is to teach.Have you look at what an average day of what teachers must deal with.Here is a list.

Students standing in the hall and kicking classroom doors for five to ten minutes at a time
-      Students fighting
-      Teachers pelted with paper, pencils, erasers, and rocks whenever they turned their heads
-      Assignments torn up and thrown on the floor the moment they’re passed out
-      Teachers cursed at, threatened, and sometimes even assaulted
-      Classroom supplies vandalized or thrown about the room
-      Groups of students running the halls and showing up to one or two classes at most
-      Constant yelling and shouting from the hallways
-      Gang writing written on the walls with permanent markers
-      Students talking and yelling so loud in the classroom that nobody could hear the teacher.I know this happen first hand,Because I have family who children are like this and there will not come up too the school to deal with there childrenbad behaviour. So give me a break on if,Dealing with kids who act out is the hard part of teaching and is But it’s part of the gig.If this was the case,How come you don’t have this problem in the Suburban Schools.that reason is parent accountability.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGqlrVmVULc&feature=related

posted by: gutbomb86 | January 5, 2012  11:24am

gutbomb86

@threefifths - there’s a real disconnect between us and you seem to be blurring the line between defining a problem and realistically solving it through bureaucracy or legislation. I have worked in the toughest city schools and have seen firsthand all the nonsense you’ve listed. No one is denying that those behaviors are occurring and that they are disruptive. You are wrong in your assumption that parents are held accountable for their kids’ behavior in the suburbs. The subtle difference is that suburban parents are accountable for their kids’ behavior and grades because they CHOOSE to be accountable, not because the schools force them. There’s just less poverty and more parents who are involved and who weren’t also raised in poverty. They learned how to parent from decent parents who taught manners and respect. The poverty cycle hasn’t taken hold on 80-85% of the families in the suburbs. By and large, kids in the suburbs respect the authority of an adult. That is not the case in some city schools, where a lot of kids grow up angry at authority and suffering PTSD from witnessing street violence.

Do you think you could concentrate on your job if you know that 2 or 3 of your nearby co-workers are rage cases who are often involved in drug violence and who will be carrying guns shortly after they leave the building? Are you going to try to hold the gang-involved child’s parents accountable? Are you going to knock on their door and demand the $500 fine because Junior got an F in English and called the teacher a b*tch? Is Bill Cosby going to show up on the stoop to confront bad parents about their drug-involved child’s violent outbursts in school? Let’s just assume that such a meeting takes place and Mr. Cosby informs the parent that his/her parenting skills are lacking. What happens next? The parent remains uneducated, the child remains connected to the street, etc.

The schools and legislature certainly are open to realistic solutions. But the obvious fact is that it is not possible to legislate better parenting. If you think teachers shouldn’t have to deal with bad behavior from at-risk students, then you’re failing the students with the highest needs anyway. No one said teaching is easy, but most people have no idea how hard it actually is. Parental accountability for student achievement isn’t something that can have any teeth, unless your hope is to close down public schools. No parent in their right mind would send a child to a school where administrators or teachers have the power to levy large fines for a child’s bad behavior. The whole suggestion is ridiculous. If you want to propose a realistic solution, suggest an end to mainstreaming and get ready to spend a lot more money to set up diversionary programs for the at-risk kids who make up a big portion of the student body in city schools.

posted by: Tom Burns | January 5, 2012  12:23pm

There is no REAL tenure for teachers in CT anyway—the process is a sham as if the arbitrators side with the teacher after all the evidence is presented and suggest that the teacher not be terminated—the BD of Ed in 99% of the cases goes ahead and terminates them anyway——I’ll agree to get rid of tenure altogether and accept due process in its place where the arbitrators decision is binding—-Presently the teacher has absolutely no chance of succeeding in arbitration—so why the fuss

posted by: brutus2011 | January 5, 2012  3:55pm

brutus2011

to “Tom Burns”

You are absolutely correct.

And, your point lays bare the oft-overlooked fact that many teachers are working in a politically charged environment that can be very hazardous to their professional life.

This is huge and teachers need protection from the arbitrary behavior of the layers of management above them.

It is an axiom of economics that an administrator who receives a salary 2-3 times that of a teacher is going to do whatever it takes to keep their job.

And that means scapegoating teachers.

This is a main reason why I am a proponent of teacher-led schools.

Public schools are not private corporations that have revenue as its bottom line.

Public schools have the education of our future citizenry as its bottom line.

But the management models of the public school districts are fashioned as though they are private companies.

What we need is a radical change in how our public schools are managed.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 5, 2012  4:01pm

@gutbomb86 No one is denying that those behaviors are occurring and that they are disruptive.I love debate.Let me tell you the major of people will agree with me that Parents can’t simply abandon their responsibilities at the school gate.There will also tell you that responsibilities is not at the door of government.Let me ask you this.If a under age child gets into there parent. liquor cabinet.Who takes responsibility,The parent,Police The court system,Teachers.Which one.You said The subtle difference is that suburban parents are accountable for their kids’ behavior and grades because they CHOOSE to be accountable, not because the schools force them.And as a parent you are surpose to choose accountable when you bring up children.You talk about how you work with these children.Do you live with them.Give me a break.Ask my teacher friend who has forty stitches in his back when a student took a box cut out and cut his back because he told the student to sit down.How about the teachers who have PTSD from the same students you are tailking about.Bottom line.Parents have always been and always will be the first educators of a child.  They have the right and the duty to lay the intellectual and emotional bases for their children?s lives, and to help develop their system of values and attitudes, particularly since a child?s future is strongly conditioned during the pre-school period. They must also exercise their responsibilities as parents of schoolchildren.Not teachers .The teachers job is to teach.

posted by: gutbomb86 | January 6, 2012  2:27am

gutbomb86

@threefifths - that’s just more circular illogic. You have no solution other than to blame the parents, but you won’t accept the fact that the government can’t change parents and will never change parents. Wake up. Smell the coffee. This is the problem that schools face every day. So you have a teacher friend who has been assaulted by a student. What do you propose the school do the child’s parents as a consequence of their child’s actions?

It’s nice that you’re commenting but you’re clearly not understanding the disconnect between what teachers and school administrators WANT to do about bad parents, and what they CAN realistically and actually do about bad parents, which is little to nothing and always will be. Teachers know that going in, and if they don’t, that’s their own fault.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | January 6, 2012  11:12am

@gutbomb86You remind me of the movie Cool hand luke when the man said what we have here is Failure to Communicate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2f-MZ2HRHQ&feature=related

Time for me to move on.

posted by: Tom Burns | January 7, 2012  12:04am

Brutus 2011—I believe I know you—and your experience over the years as a teacher and human leader in our system are valued more than you know—-although I disagree with you on your comments concerning our union—I agree with you on EVERYTHING else——we WILL work to change the adventures of the past—I promise—-keep posting friend—T

posted by: Careful | January 8, 2012  2:08pm

Brutus2011:  You skirted our real state problem, when you say—“What we need is a radical change ion how public schools are managed.”

Our real problem is union contracted, mandated annual raises, “which is knocking the socks off of taxpayers in Connecicut towns and cities,” causing layoffs of teachers, and other school employees in trying to meet balooning budgets—which deteriorates our quality of education, everywhere.

Unions are now the biggest curse in America—after dispersing our jobs to other countries by forced, high wages. Unions are our biggest curse in Connecticut also, and Gov. Malloy merely plays political games with them!