Why Americans Think So Poorly of the Country’s Schools

Reblogged from The Atlantic by Jack Schneider

Each year, parents responding to the Phi Delta Kappan poll report high levels of satisfaction with their kids’ education. Asked to assign letter grades to their children’s schools, the vast majority of parents—generally around 70 percent—issue As and Bs. If those ratings were compiled the way a student’s grade point average is calculated, the public schools would collectively get a B.

When asked to rate the nation’s schools, however, respondents are far less sanguine. Reflecting on public schools in general, a similar share of respondents—roughly 70 percent—confer a C or D. Again calculated as a GPA, America’s schools get a C or C-.

 

So which is it? Are public schools generally meeting Americans’ expectations? Or are they teetering on the brink of failure?

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Teacher pay: Michigan Radio survey uncovers frustration across the state

Reblogged from Michigan Radio

We entrust our kids with Michigan’s teachers five days a week. Yet most us of probably don’t know much about the way our teachers are paid. The truth might be surprising.

This week, Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra is exploring teacher pay in Michigan, and what it means for keeping the best teachers in their classrooms instead of seeing them flee for more lucrative and less stressful jobs elsewhere.

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The average teacher salary in Michigan is $61,978. Here’s why that number doesn’t mean much.

Reblogged from Michigan Radio

Michigan’s average teacher salary has dropped for the fifth year in a row, and many districts say they have trouble retaining high quality teachers because of low pay.

So we wanted to know: what’s going on with teacher pay in the state?

As a starting point, we have the average teacher salary in Michigan. The state Department of Education puts it at $61,978.

OK, so what does that number really tell us?

First, it marks a downward trend for five years in a row.

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How To Recruit Teachers

Reblogged from Curmudgucation

There isn’t a teacher shortage. Not really. But there is a shortage of districts and states that are successfully attracting people to teach careers. If I can’t get a dealer to sell me a Lexus for $1.98, that does not mean there is an automobile shortage. The “teacher shortage” is really a shortage of $1.98 teachers.

Something is wrong. Not only do we have a drastic drop in the number of proto-teachers in the pipeline, but the profile of the teacher pool is off. The teacher pool is overwhelmingly female and white. Males and minorities are not represented in the teaching force in numbers that remotely resemble the demographics of our student population.

So how do we get and keep the teachers that we need?

After all, it ought to be easy. No other profession gets to pitch itself to every single young person who could possibly pursue it. So what are we missing?

To understand how to recruit teachers, we just have to remember how the teachers we have found their way to the classroom. And the most important thing to remember is how they start.

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Test-Based Accountability – Smokescreen for Cowardly Politicians and Unscrupulous Corporations

Reblogged from GADFLYONTHEWALLBLOG

There is no single education policy more harmful than test-based accountability.

The idea goes like this: We need to make sure public schools actually teach children, and the best way to do that is with high stakes standardized testing.

It starts from the assumption that the problems with our school system are all service-based. Individual schools or districts are not providing quality services. Teachers and administrators are either screwing up or don’t care enough to do the job.

But this is untrue. In reality, most of our problems are resource-based. From the get-go, schools and districts get inequitable resources with which to work.

This is not a guess. This is not a theory. It is demonstrable. It has been demonstrated. It is a fact.

No one even disputes it.

What is in question is its importance.

However, any lack of intention or ability on the part of schools to actually teach is, in fact, pure conjecture. It is a presumption, an excuse by those responsible for allocating resources (i.e. lawmakers) from doing their jobs.

Any time you hear senators or representatives at the state or federal level talking about test-based accountability, they are ignoring their own duties to properly provide for our public school children and pushing everything onto the schools, themselves.

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Did SAT Unmask Grade Inflation?

Reblogged from Curmudgucation

Did SAT Unmask Grade Inflation?
The story was carried by USA Today and rapidly picked up by much of the Kids These Days press– the good people at the College Board have discovered rampant grade inflation as illuminated by the SAT, as witnessed by variations on this lede:

Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen.

Like many education stories, this puts some thin[g]s together that have nothing to do with each other. Let’s pull apart the pieces, shall we?

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