Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Class Size is more than Just a Number

In the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper today, I was reading the response to the class size amendment.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-class-size-final-rules-04-26-10-20100426,0,4415874.story

There are at least 2 problems within this system that need to be addressed

Issue 1 = As stated by Rick Collins, ""Is it the best situation for students? Is it the best situation for parents? Is it the best situation for teachers? The answer to all of those, in my opinion, is no," said Collins."

Mr. Collins may or may not have been in the classroom, yet either way, I offer the business community a classroom example, for their understanding. You call a meeting and 5 people show up, easy to control and get your message across. Perhaps when 10 people show you get a similar response. Where is the tipping point within a meeting? I might suggest you try this experiment and realize it is easier to work with fewer people and build a product than it is to work with more. 30 people in a meeting = disaster. You have no idea how each person feels and to receive feedback will be from only half of the recipients at best. Lowering class size is a similar example, which Mr. Collins and others do not understand. It is best for teachers, students and learning as a whole. The only aspect in this system that is best for all is that there is no money being passed down from the legislature, and they are forcing the counties to scramble. This is the fault of the legislature and not of the education system who is being blamed.

Issue 2 = Education and Government are not a good mix at this time. Education receives government monies, and is handled as a non-profit organization. Each County follows the rules and does what it can with the resources it receives. The Legislature reviews a budget as if it were numbers and not in the mindset to help the people of the State. If I were a member of the Legislature, I too would worry about re-election, and my position within the political realm. Yet, I do believe it would be my obligation to do what is best for the people. Right now, the Legislature is doing what is best for re-election and not for the people; especially the people who cannot vote. We are talking about creating smarter, well educated people coming out of Florida schools. It is time for the Legislature to grow up, and be part of the cure, not the cause of the disease.

The class size amendment needs leaders to handle it and push it forward, not arrogant financial mouth flappers who have no true idea of what public education involves.

Being an advocate for change in a positive manner leads to many hard roads, yet walking those roads matters. The voters need to be informed of all the consequences of this class size option, and not just hear the rhetoric of how bad things are.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A teacher knows how to teach.

The following link demonstrates the importance of valuing teachers

http://neatoday.org/2010/04/21/florida-teacher-issues-rallying-cry-for-respect-for-educators/

Jamee Miller's "I Am a Teacher" essay shows the true life of a teacher. I can honestly state to everyone who reads this, that what she writes is very real. She spends her own money, as do most teachers, in order to validate and grow their classroom material. The Counties and Governments have cut the spending to a minimal, and therefore many of us beg for discounts wherever we go in order to fund modern classrooms.

As for vacations, for those that believe summer is just a time to sit around and relax, find a good teacher and you will also find them working toward a better new year. Education is at the heart of every business. Consider that education is the R&D for every company. Improving the previous model over and over just to tweak it enough that success can be found.

Good teachers reinvent themselves all the time to perfect their craft. I do not believe that arguing with my doctor in how to best be a doctor would be within my best interest. The same would be said for a lawyer, accountant or any other profession for that matter. It is time that State legislatures learned to build teams to find best results for all, and not just follow an agenda paid to them by the highest bidder.

Teachers are creating a world which is adaptable for your children. We are not all the same, stop trying to make all people the same.
Thank you Jamee for spreading the word of truth within teaching.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Changing Education Standards

People are interesting. Each person chiming into this article has differing opinions. For those that cannot handle math or science this is unfair. For those that can handle it, they are saying it could be done. In the grand scheme of education, it would seem to me that the only true means of testing a society is by the abilities that the educated have.

Are all people created equal, as the constitution states? The answer is simply no. The current dropout rate is high, yet not much higher today than it was 20 years ago. Are the classes harder today than they were 20 years ago? Depends on your version of hard. As an educator I would say that classes today are lowered so that more students can achieve the bare minimum.

As an educator, my view on a plan like this is mixed. We need higher standards for all, yet we don't need just one model. Students should be offered differing tracks of education, and still be able to pass high school. For those that are involved in science/math. Push them, allow them to learn. Yet Physics over Anatomy may not be correct. Health Science can benefit some, while Physical Science will benefit others.

Math is necessary and I understand that. What about more statistics or business math for students who want a different track. When making a plan consider your audience. That is my thought on this topic.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-high-school-grad-changes-04-22-10-20100421,0,5537984.story

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Newt Gingrich Lies for his Party:

Former Speaker Gingrich

When the people of your State spoke, did you listen to them? In this commentary it would seem to me that private corporations are running scared and you are trying to volley against the Unions and the teachers in order to justify garbage legislature.
Quite frankly this is not your fight. You are doing what you can, yet you are misguided in the field of education.
Currently teachers received evaluations by administrators. If the State is not happy, crack down and hire more administrators, pay them properly and have them evaluate as they can.

The Republican congressmen that created this bill have stated publicly that they realize that it is flawed yet it needs to be passed then it will be corrected. Since you know politics well, perhaps you can remember that commentary like that does not truly exist. That is called Rhetoric and pandering.

Do us all a favor, and stay out of this mess, let the Florida congress people make their own bed, and carry on in Washington trying to balance a fair Nationalized education bill.

You have no business involving yourself in this matter, and sometimes, listen to the people. In this case, the people are yelling, even the general public sees this as garbage, you should too

http://discussions.orlandosentinel.com/20/orlnews/os-ed-newt-gingrich-merit-pay-041410-20100413/10

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Myth vs. Resnick Fact

Mailed to the Governor and member of the press 04/13/2010

Governor Crist, et al

In reading the rhetoric that was written within the Orlando Sentinel article on April 13th titled "Merit pay frenzy: 'I've never seen it this intense,' Crist says"
I choose to write and question some of the comments which are being made by members of the Jeb Bush foundation.

1)"Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, agreed. "We're thankful that Gov. Crist has supported these issues in the past, and we're looking forward to his support this week," she said.
The angry outpouring from teachers, Levesque added, has been the result of a union-driven campaign using misleading information. "They've been very active in making sure that their membership gets information that is slanted in the direction that they believe."

- Mrs. Levesque is using words which are clearly not true. Perhaps it would be in her best interest to read the bill in its entirety through the lens of someone that is not involved in politics. Unions are not the ones pushing around the rhetoric. The Jeb Bush plan for merit pay failed once already, and this plan is more hazardous than the last one. Jeb Bush is pushing his agenda, through his organization, which itself is not sharing the truth.

http://www.foundationforfloridasfuture.org/SB6_Docs/MythVsFact.pdf

At this site, the Foundation states:

Myth: This reform is a purely partisan effort.

Fact: Both Democrats and Republicans are advocating for the use of student test scores to measure teacher effectiveness. Reforms advocates include President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the Gates Foundation. Florida's business community has called on the Legislature to act on these issues. In their report Closing the Talent Gap, the Florida Council of 100 and the Florida Chamber of Commerce called for these reforms. The Florida Senate issued Interim Study 2010-213 studying teacher quality in 2009.

My Fact: Advocating Test scores has been shown to be the worst measurement for teacher effectiveness, as students have differing levels of abilities. In order for this process to work, there needs to be a pre-post test which is only measurable from creating a standardized test which is valid and reliable. There also needs to be measures in which students are monitored for a slew of environmental factors which are not part of just one teacher's control. Therefore the government, including Arne Duncan are learning from previous administrations that solely testing students is not the best method of measuring either teacher or student.

Fact: Including Business' which are for profit agencies in the field of education will not help, and there is no proof that it will help. You want more money, let them become sponsors of schools, and that is all they need to be part of

Myth: The bill eliminates tenure in Florida.

Fact: The bill doesn't eliminate tenure for teachers in the classroom today. The courts have determined that tenure is a property right and can't be taken away by the Legislature. The bill does end the practice of granting lifetime guarantee of employment after just three years in the classroom. Instead, new teachers will have annual performance contracts.
My Fact: There is no current tenure in the State of Florida. There is a professional contract. I would have assumed Jeb Bush to remember this. Your sites states attracting teachers, yet without job security of any kind, teachers won't come, and current teachers may leave to other States. This is your rhetoric which to teachers equates to a lie

Myth: Annual tests are not a good measure of teacher effectiveness.

Fact: Annual tests are an objective measure of the knowledge and skills students gain from one year to the next. If you believe teachers impact how much a student learns, then annual tests that measure progress are an objective measure of their effectiveness in the classroom.

My Fact: Using this concept, that means that classes that have no prior knowledge base are not going to be part of this program, which covers most courses throughout education, as classes have become progression and not repetition. Therefore this is another concept of rhetoric. Objective tests are neither valid or reliable, and therefore not a manner to show the effectiveness of a teacher.

On other aspects of the Jeb Bush Republican belief concept, your idea's are not sound. You have beliefs and have been pushing them for years. You state that the people who work hard deserve money, and that people who work in low income schools work harder than teachers from high income schools. Where is your research in this? That is more rhetoric that I will state is a bold face lie.
There is a lot more that you as a group are lying to the public about. You share with the governor of Florida that because he once agreed with Merit he must do the same now, well Ex Governor Bush, you once believed in telling the truth, is this something you still care to do now.

I offer you a pledge, you come work in my classroom as a teacher for a year. Do what I do and I will do what you do. Perhaps I can offer the people of Florida the truth about education after I travel around the State on funded monies that private corporations pay you. I can then offer a true testament of education, and ignore that these people who gave me money desire the result they are paying me for. When the year is over we can compare notes, and levels if stress etc. I will put my money on the table that in the end you learn far more and change your mind far more than I do.

Governor Crist, the teachers are not simply listening to the Unions. They are reading the bill, and listening to each other. They are listening to the news. They are listening to people with far more experience who desire an outcome that is fair. As a Republican I believe in the concept of small government, and appropriate financial balancing. Merit pay is a desire of a few people with corporate ties. Your constituents are not stupid, and they deserve to be listened to. Please do the proper thing and Veto this bill.


Then when that is done, create a Task Force which will be filled with teachers, professors and other educational specialists who can create a true equitable program for all.

Thanks for listening and understanding that teachers are educated and can read between the lines

Cade

Attention Mike Thomas – You are Wrong

Comments toward Mike Thomas
04/13/2010

Mike - Jeb Bush had and has an agenda. So instead of removing affirmative action he instead places a hold for the top 20%.
Jeb Bush may not be the worst governor that we have had in this State, yet he does come close when education is involved. You did not mention that it was Jeb Bush that worked to try and stop the class size amendment. Jeb Bush is now working with State Senators to try and force through a merit pay system which will work to end education as you know it.
If the goal is to just get black and Hispanics into college, then Jeb did that. If the goal were to truly reform education properly and allow for equitable education for all, and to offer a balance where students in k-12 get fair opportunities to succeed, then he did not do that.

For black and Hispanics to succeed in High School and into college, education needs to become a priority within their culture. Jeb knows this and so do you. Perhaps he could spend his time working to build educational community centers in low socioeconomic environments. He can place learning centers in malls where people go to get help. He can enhance task forces around the State to mentor parents in the benefits of education.

He does none of these things; instead he blames teachers for his failures and desires only a private education for all. Public Education deserves the applause for its hard work and success.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-mike-thomas-affirmative-action-041310-20100412,0,4996562.column

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Letter to Governor Crist of Florida

Good morning to you Governor Crist

You may remember me from the short discussions we have had in Tallahassee and in Orlando. Although I assess this not to be the case, I feel it pertinent to share with you that we have spoken on the topic of education a few times prior. Today I share with you a few thoughts that I have, with a lasting idea.

A population in the modern world can only be as strong as its leaders. Many years ago, the leaders would say that they are the voice of the people, and that it was the people who were strong. In reviewing the history of man, it does seem that modern governments have become stronger than the people, and that with this switch in social structure, we, the people need very strong government leading us.

Politicians play a very tedious game of back scratching and power pleasing that sometimes the goal of our passions is lost to the power of our greed to belong. This is not necessarily a bad thing if we are able to keep in mind who we are serving; the people

In this current legislative session, I do not feel the people have had a fair voice. The members of the Senate and the House have become so entrenched within their positions, that I feel they are not considering what is best for the people. As a teacher in Florida, I know you have been privy to all the aspects of the bills that are now found on your desk. The bills involving education that are on your desk, in my mind do not bring a team atmosphere to education. Instead it brings anguish, and competition.

The members of the Florida congress that feel competition is important in schools are people who come from a corporate environment, and truly do not understand the power of collaboration. I worked in the corporate world for the first years of my career and now am in the field of education. Without collaboration and team work in all facets of this job, there may be a huge drop in the success Florida has been building over the past twenty years.

Some aspects that you are aware of, yet I feel repeating this will help in your decision.

  1. As a teacher, you do not get to choose the students who enter your classroom. You receive 25+ students (assuming you veto class amendment and force the State to find the monies necessary) who come from all walks of life. They also enter with all of their prior baggage that we, as teachers are not allowed to have an HR department take care of
  2. In the classroom you have 5 hours per week to influence students. That amounts to 12 minutes per child if you truly were able to offer individualized teaching.
  3. Each child sees at least 5 teachers through the day, and then goes home with homework, and has a responsibility to complete this work in order to achieve the educational desired outcome
  4. Most students go home and refuse to complete homework, which means they fall behind or force the teacher to help them, and or worse of all for the teacher not to give any homework, and therefore slowing down a course
  5. Teachers are not allowed to offer true value grades, as they are seen as failures if too many students fail. Therefore they are to create a systemic bell curve to show they are valuable.
  6. Teachers are allowed to educate students within their classrooms, yet they are not allowed to be part of the technological world with the students. Students today are technologically advanced, it is time to allow teachers to reach students in the 21st century
  7. Teachers can only influence and educate students who in attendance. In a normal educational environment, a teacher can expect 2-3 students per class to be out. Some of these students are habitual with being absent. Without any form of punishment over these students, educating them becomes a null situation, and it is unfair to blame a teacher
  8. Education has differing levels. Many counties now offer open enrollment to AP courses, and Honors classes. This open enrollment policy has created a situation where AP classes are now the honors classes of 10 years ago. Honors classes of today are the Regular Education classes of twenty years ago, and Regular education is so watered down it is closer to basic education, rather than regular education.
  9. Special needs students are also setup to fail in this current environment, as they have specific needs and educational growth standards. Creating a measure for all students to meet is fool hearty at best, and for these Special Needs students it is simply abusive.
  10. Degrees matter. As a Bachelor level student I received a good education in my field. It was broad and I was a good teacher. Entering into my master's degree, I learned so much more, in a far more narrow setting, which allows me to be a better teacher, and offer the students a more realistic perspective of my area of expertise. Now I am a PHD candidate, and I am learning even more, for which my students benefit, as I bring this back to the classroom. Taking away the desire for a teacher to earn further degrees will affect the standard of education being offered to students. People who cannot earn more for their degrees will take their skills elsewhere. This is the same concept in the corporate world, and is not a valid aspect of any career. Furthering education is atop the president's agenda, and it should also be for the State of Florida.

I state all the above issues, and offer a solution. Create a task force, which is not directed through lobbying monies. It is an opportunity for you to reach out and hire teachers from all levels of education, and some business people. Perhaps 15-20 people and hire them t0o create a fair systemic education model. These people work around the State collecting data and researching the best possible solution for the new Florida education model that will work. One that is fair to most of the teachers and students. My suggestion is that the State creates a model in which the State of Florida and the Florida Education Association can truly agree on; and one that recognizes the benefit of all aspects of education for students, parents, administrators and teachers alike. Being able to create a truly rigorous environment which offers the students a chance to excel is what is important. We are here to teach students, and guide them to a greater life. That should be everyone's goal in the field of education. It is time for our political leaders to lead, and be the powerful guides we, the people, are asking for.

Governor, I have been considering the aspect of a new education model for Florida for a while now, and in review of where the State Congress feels we should go, I feel that a complete overhaul may be a better direction. This could be a great legacy you leave behind, rather than leaving the State with a failing system of education

Friday, April 9, 2010

When did Tallahassee become so close Minded?

There must be something the people in Tallahassee knows that the rest of the State is not truly aware

"Florida would become the first state in the nation to enact such a broadside on teacher tenure, which Republicans said would reward excellent teachers with higher salaries and get rid of a system that promotes mediocrity"
- There has never been talk that these bills would tied to teacher pay raises, just to merit pay which is a onetime bonus for doing a good job. This bonus is based on 1 Test which the student takes at the end of the year, and teachers are compared by a mathematical system among all State students in that class.
- Teachers in Florida have not had Tenure since 1982, the ignorance of Tallahassee and the Press continues to astound me.

"This is what I like about the bill…If you do a good job, you make more money," said Rep. Mike Horner, R -Kissimmee, arguing it would motivate teachers and have a "profound effect on the students in this state."
-What if I do a great job and the kid fails the end of year test, what if the child misses the test, what if? What if? Mr Horner, I feel you just passed awful legislation and this year you get no raise.

The legislative Republicans wanted to make a point. In November make the point back, Fire them ALL

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-merit-pay-house-vote-04-09-2010-20100408,0,2736075,full.story

Use your Veto Pen

Governor Charlie Crist

You and I have met before, yet I am aware you have no idea who I am. My name is Cade Resnick, and I am a registered voting RepublicanI am also a teacher, and consider myself to be an educated individual

I am sure you have been paying close attention to the news concerning the bills within education coming out of the Senate and the House.
Please read my comments and consider what each teacher is telling you. They are your front line personnel. I am not going to tell you how to do your job without learning from you, and then offering guidance, and I feel that the Senate and House are ignoring teachers and passing an old Jeb Bush agenda which has been known to fail (Merit Pay)

Last night, the House passed the education bill and stated, " Under the bill, pay raises for Florida's 167,000 teachers would be based primarily on student test scores. No longer would years of experience and degrees dictate teacher salary. Instead, pay would hinge on student "learning gains," as charted by standardized tests, and principal reviews."

This is a travesty. You may want to share with the members of the house that are voting, that merit pay is based on a bonus and not salary. The way this is being touted, my salary each year would change based on the success of my students. If you want to create a merit pay system, do so, which is fair. Secondly, there is no rhetoric toward the students. Are they going to be held back as a failure for failing this test? There is a reality here that needs to be addressed, and the members of the Florida congress are refusing to see this.

Mike Horner stated, " "This is what I like about the bill…If you do a good job, you make more money," said Rep. Mike Horner, R -Kissimmee, arguing it would motivate teachers and have a "profound effect on the students in this state."
Who is he to decide what a good job is? This is your opportunity to share with the members of the congress that this bill is not properly aligned with the best format for education

Adding to this one bill, three more made it to your desk this week. As a teacher I will loudly tell you that less students in a class offers the best chance for success. If you want the public to change their vote, explain it honestly. Yes it will cost us money to enact a plan which we have had 8 years to prepare for. Just because the State Congress and yourself have over spent, should not be the fault of education. It would seem this is another State Poltician failure, rather than education, yet, you receive a raise in the face of failure?

" Some also question how the state and the school districts, as the bill requires, can develop so many new tests to cover teachers whose work is not tested on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or national exams such as Advanced Placement."
Why spend the extra money to develop all these tests immediately. Allow the State to develop tests that are valid and reliable, and the mimic the New York System of education. The students pass an end of year test to leave the course. This gives teachers the chance to make class harder.

Currently, Teachers have so much more to worry about other than their classroom material. I urge any and or many congress people to spend a week with me in my classroom. (you are invited as well) I want them to talk with students, and verify that this job is as easy as they think it is.
At this point Governor, I feel it is your responsibility as a Republican to honor the concept of being a Republican. Less Government and more financial control. This bill, which is being dismissed by the Democrats, has a democratic structure all over it, which shows me that the underlying political scheme is to move toward privatizing education. Vouchers are continued for the poor. NO. With extra money, go into the schools and fix them. That is your responsibility as politicians.

I will offer you 5% bad teachers, and perhaps some of these 5% are old yet teach since they cannot afford to retire. This failure is the Florida System again.
Governor, it is time to step and be the difference. People of the State need to see it, and the teachers need to see it.
Veto these bills and allow the education system the chance to create true reform which can lead us forward into the 21st century properly.
I suggest you help in creating a task force which spends time learning how to create a proper education system which is balanced and fair for all involved.

Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you Veto this bill

Sent to Governor Crist, 04/09/2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Questioning Lies, one attempt at a time.

The following is my commentary to Representative Horner following his Orlando Sentinel Article from Today

Mr. Horner and others.

In response to your comments found within the article placed on the Orlando Sentinel Website, I would like to offer the following comments and questions.I am going to break down your comments from each paragraph and ask you to specify exactly what they mean, since you wrote them, and they seem to me, to be a stretch of the truthhttp://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-myword-pro-merit-pay-040710-20100406,0,5500260.story

Mr. Horner Stated: The first and most important element of this reform is increased pay for quality teachers. To achieve this worthy goal, the proposed bill does not reduce pay for any teacher in the state.
-Increased pay means that I would receive more pay and not a bonus check at the end of the year. You also stated quality teachers in this paragraph, yet have not outlined a quality teacher. Prior to passing a bill, would it not be worthy to state exactly what is a quality teacher?

Mr. Horner Stated: Instead, it invests in our most valuable asset — the thousands of great teachers in classrooms all over Florida — by dedicating roughly $900 million for pay raises to teachers who make the most progress with our students.

-Your thought is that only thousands would receive this money and not possible every teacher. In order to dedicate $900 million on the back end, what exactly is the benefit. You also state teachers who make the most progress, what about a teacher who helps make mild progress, is that not good enough? And if not, why? Adding to this, what about the teacher that has students missing, family problems, health problems, life problems etc, are you penalizing that teacher for those students. And yes Mr. Horner, I am stating students in plural as most often life does not affect just one student at a time.

Mr. Horner Stated:
The key word is "progress."
Teachers cannot control what a student knows when they enter a classroom on the first day. What we do expect, however, is that every child will leave a classroom knowing more than they did. Raises primarily will be based on demonstrated progress — not how much a student knows.

- A) Can we, the public and the teachers hold you to this comment. B) Again you don't state progress, can we get a specific tool to gauge what progress actually is? c) You state raises, and by definition this means it is a permanent structure. Raises and merit pay are two very different concepts, so which is it?

Mr. Horner Stated: The proposal does not remove tenure for the 175,000 teachers who already have it. Newly hired teachers will work under a commonsense evaluation system, which is based on classroom success, not on how long they have been in the system. Ending the practice of tenure is not an indictment of teachers; it is a statement that we are ready to start treating teachers like professionals by rewarding them for results — and not requiring retention of low-performing teachers.

-I would have assessed that as the congressman so involved in education you would have already known that there is not such concept as tenure for Florida teachers. In 1982 it was removed and a system of due process is in place. The legislature seems adamant that it is going to try and destroy unions, that people within it are blind to what the laws actually are. Perhaps your aides can do the research and you can read the specifics, yet tenure is and has already been removed. If you take the aspect of due process from a teacher, then you remove any possibility of humanity left within the position. You want classroom success, perhaps offer the classrooms the tools they need to be successful. We have students of 2010, and a budget to make it happen of 1980

Mr. Horner Stated:
A third critical component of these reforms is to financially prioritize high needs areas in order to attract top talent to those positions.
Currently Florida is experiencing a teacher shortage in our most challenging learning environments: math and science courses, lower-performing schools and classes with special-needs students.
Let's attract our best and brightest teachers to these positions by acknowledging the additional workload they take on, and reward them with higher salaries.

Although you arrive at this statement lightly based on statistics, I believe strongly that you are misguided. EVERY area needs financial reform, and within that concept, every area deserves to be considered. The United States rested on its laurels and assumed that people would just flock to the hard subjects. I agree with you that math and science is underrepresented , yet in order to get the brightest and most skilled teachers into this area, you have to create an environment that they feel welcome. Florida is now the laughing stock of the country due to these bills you are creating. You stress lower-performing schools..fair enough. Do yourself a favor and review if is the teachers, or perhaps the environment that needs to change. If it is the environment, start with the area these schools are in and go clean them up. Get more police and law support. Typically underperforming schools are also in poor neighborhoods. Create a family task force and get kids to school.

Mr. Horner. You publicly stated all of this in a newspaper article. I would ask that the House and Senate allow for people within the profession to sit with all of you and to discuss exactly what goes on in the field of education. Unions are not your enemy, statistics are. Education has opened its doors in many ways, that perhaps it should not have, to try and educate the masses. AP Classes of today are the honors classes of twenty years ago. Honors classes are what Standard education was 20 years ago. And Standard education of today is so dumbed down that newspapers write on a 6th grade level just so people can understand them. The job of the legislature is to validate educating the people, not forcing education to be dumbed down to meet goals that are socially ineffective.

I will meet with you and any other congressman and talk over all these topics. I have read both Senate and House bills, and understand how each of them impact me, have you read them in their entirety?


 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Competition = Survival of the Fittest

With all due respect to The Federal and State Government: Since when did education become a competition that was so public. Grant money is designed to fund projects in a specific manner. If this is a grant, then outline the requirements. By making this a public stint, the Obama administration will come out as embarrassed losers and the States that buy into this plan will too. As I repeat over and over, education is designed to aid people in moving forward. The people that teach are the guides, and the Federal government holds the money. The State Governments offer the Standards for which educators and students are measured. Any more than that and you are trying to re-create a system. When re-creating a system it needs time to be measured and tested. Competition allows people to see the end result. Rarely do people see the time and effort of practice. Therefore, in competition, (Darwin) only the best survive. As an educator, if you make this into a competition, I would only want the brightest and the best, so that I am deemed the best teacher. The best coaches have the best athletes, the best teachers deserve the best students.

That is Darwinian Teaching and that is the desire of the Federal and State Government in creating this system.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-mike-thomas-race-to-the-top040610-20100405,0,1462195.column

Monday, April 5, 2010

Conservative national education expert opposes Florida’s teacher merit pay plan

Arguing over spilled milk is a playground stunt most of us never grow out of. We want what we want and there no one we are going to listen to until we get it. This seems to me, the mantra of the Tallahassee Republicans today. Jeb Bush has a business model for schools and wants to make a profit. Senator Thrasher is aligned with Jeb Bush and is working to single handedly destroy Public Florida education. I state Public as it is designed for all the people to receive a fair and equitable education.

Diane Ravitch is part of the brain trust behind NCLB. She recently stated publicly that NCLB is being handles incorrectly. I urge all readers to read her work, and her CV, then use that information in writing to Tallahassee. This woman has more years of experience and more knowledge in her head about education, than most of us posters combined.

cv- http://www.dianeravitch.com/vita.html
Articles - http://www.dianeravitch.com/articles.html

Grow up Tallahassee and listen to the people, this is how Rome fell. And this is how America beat the British...inappropriate politics.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2010/04/conservative-national-education-expert-opposes-floridas-teacher-merit-pay-plan.html/comment-page-1#comment-30299

Is forcing parents to become parents such a bad idea?

Comments in response to Mike Thomas Article Make Parents help Children Learn

Mike: This would be an interesting start in a direction. Perhaps we can maintain a systemic approach and add in the State in a more regulatory manner. The drivers license may work in high school. What about 1-10th grade prior.
Might I suggest we opt into Taxing parents for their failing students. The State believes it is all the teachers fault. In order to do so, a child who fails a grade causes a parent to pay for that repeated year. And while we are at this system of change, parents should assist at home where they can, and maintain a balance between homework, video games and family time.
I understand sports and other events are part of the balance, yet students are able to learn plays, then they are able to learn what teachers need to teach them. Being part of a systemic team helps...and Mike Thomas you are still welcome to teach my class for a week and see how you do. 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-mike-thomas-school-reform-032810-20100328,0,4287288.column

Mount Dora doctor never dreamed the storm he created

I am curious, for those that are mad at him. Are you mad because he is now in the spotlight? Are you mad because he is taking a stand in something he believes in? Are you mad because he is being vocal? Etc etc. This man is making a choice, and his choice is to place a sign at his place of business and share his side of the story. We all get that choice, and in this manner, he is using the constitution to his benefit. I think you are just mad at this guy because he made a stubborn choice based on what he feels is an inappropriate bill.

Here is my thought on that bill. Everyone pays 5% Taxes toward healthcare and everyone is covered. Divvy up the Private insurance Companies and they can manage portions of the country. We all pay one set amount, 5% of our total income. And no loopholes either. 5%...and as for managed care, the system will be created with a concept of equity for all. Yes it is like Europe and Canada, and yes they have problems too. Yet the difference between medicine and politics is still trying to figure out roe v wade...

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-florida-doctor-anti-obama-profile-20100405,0,750525.story

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Florida Education Comments from recent Online Articles

Florida is not above average for reading or math when 55% of its students are not capable of passing the College placement Test.

The FCAT is our only measure and quite frankly the test is extremely basic in order for the majority of students to pass.

The SAT and ACT are valid and reliable, and Florida is not nationally competitive with this test. I repeat loudly, this is not teachers, this starts with Family, and then the State. You want accountability, stop pushing kids through. Find balance with lawyers. Let kids fail, they need to remain where they can learn the basics. Stop worrying solely about drop out statistics. You want kids to succeed take away drivers licenses, until they are passing at grade level. Make parents pay a tax for their failing students; I bet students will start to learn faster. Then blame Counties who are more worried about statistics than they are about the actual student. Finally, when teachers are not doing their job, administration either needs to be able to intercede. People blame teachers and Unions. This is a Parent/State situation first, then a County/Administration setup which is designed to fail. Finally it's the teachers/unions who are working to keep education moving forward. If a teacher is doing nothing, they can be removed, yet kids who do nothing cannot be. Teachers who work hard through their year and take the time to attend conferences in the summer may not be recognized, yet a student who is failing and does something right on one day, is rewarded. The system is designed for failure and needs to be revamped properly, not in the manner Jeb Bush and Senator Thrasher want to do it. And FYI - the Bush plans sends kids to private schools or charter schools which are not State Reviewed. The public schools have accountability, the others do not. And the research shares that highly ranked public educated students are just as successful as the expensive private school students.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2010/04/teachers-union-fights-back-with-poll.html/comment-page-1#comment-25598