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Author Topic: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm  (Read 3653 times)

Offline lanseaux

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2010, 12:25:25 PM »
throw their weight behind preventing the cap from being lifted.

By cap, do you mean cap on the number of students per class?

Assuming for the moment that you do -- that cap is absolutely necessary.  Right now, it's 34 students per class in high schools.  My husband teaches science at one of the specialized science high schools, and he has, without fail, 34 students in every single one of his classes.  He's been teaching for nearly 20 years (most of the time at that school), and while in the past he occasionally had smaller classes, for quite a few years now they are always maxed out -- and it's too high.  Basically, he has found that over 30 students starts to diminish the effectiveness of teaching to the individual student, particularly in a science setup where a good chunk of the learning is supposed to be hands-on.  Maybe it doesn't matter for all of the students, but he feels every year that he loses a few because of the sheer volume of students.

Sure, you could cram 50 students into a class.  But to what advantage?  In this scenario, saving money doesn't equate to better-educated students.  This isn't the production of widgets.

Offline megc

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2010, 12:31:00 PM »
I heard from a NY HS teacher that unfortunately the majority of their students were not ready to learn at grade level. To make matters worse, there was pressure from the principal to promote the students regardless.

I would like to know if this is true because the idea of it disturbs me.  Promoting a student when they are not ready is, in the end, harming the student.  A principal that pressures a teacher to do that should be fired.  Practices like this seem unethical to me.

Offline megc

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2010, 12:32:50 PM »
By cap, do you mean cap on the number of students per class?

I thought he meant the cap on the number of charter schools being built?  I'd also like to know what Bill meant.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2010, 01:20:36 PM »
I've heard the recent radio ads from UFT regarding charter schools, and the impression I get is that they fear them. Why fear them?  I've never been given the impression that charter schools are a scourge upon the earth.  Are they generally corrupt or something?  Can someone please enlighten me, because obviously I don't understand the full scope of the problem the union has with charter schools.  Thanks in advance.

Well, in the interest of fairness, I am not the one to give you the "full scope."  If you'd like the union side of the argument, you'd have to speak with someone in the union.  But I can give you my understanding as someone who is not in the union and is openly in favor of charter schools.

The short and cynical version as to why the UFT is against charters is that the teachers in charters are generally not affiliated with the union.  Policy scholars who are in favor of charters argue that being free of the union is the whole point of the exercise.  Charters should be free to have new and innovative rules and administrative procedures and should not be bound by union work rules, argue proponents of the charters.  You will see this idea expressed in the work of scholars like Checker Finn and Marcus Winters (http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/winters.htm)

The union waged a fierce battle to unionize certain charters (I believe one of the KIPP Academy schools) so now there ARE several charters run under the UFT rules.  But again, many in support of charters argues this defeats the purpose.  The union, for their part, claims that there are certain things that are unfair about the way charters are run.  For example, they say that charters only get better educational outcomes from their students because they don't have to deal with as wide of a special needs population, or as many students learning english.  They advocate that charters should have to accept such students:  http://gothamschools.org/2010/01/04/uft-recommendations-add-fuel-to-the-charter-school-debate-fire/

Of course, the cynic in me believes that this is a gambit by the union to lower the outcomes of charters (which are now, essentially, their competitors) or to agitate for unionization.  Mulgrew, the head of the union claimed just yesterday that he is not holding back an increase in the number of charters: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/05/ufts-mulgrew-were-not-blocking.html  He alleges mismanagement by the charter schools, but was unable to produce few, if any examples.  He also went back to the old chestnut that the charter schools can be for profit entities, and collect per pupil management fees, whereas he believes that money should go "into the classroom" as opposed to a for profit entity.  My question to him is, if a for profit entity can do a better job why does it matter where their money goes?  Unless you have a vested interest in preserving the union, that is.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2010, 01:22:23 PM »
By cap, do you mean cap on the number of students per class?

Assuming for the moment that you do -- that cap is absolutely necessary.  Right now, it's 34 students per class in high schools.  My husband teaches science at one of the specialized science high schools, and he has, without fail, 34 students in every single one of his classes.  He's been teaching for nearly 20 years (most of the time at that school), and while in the past he occasionally had smaller classes, for quite a few years now they are always maxed out -- and it's too high.  Basically, he has found that over 30 students starts to diminish the effectiveness of teaching to the individual student, particularly in a science setup where a good chunk of the learning is supposed to be hands-on.  Maybe it doesn't matter for all of the students, but he feels every year that he loses a few because of the sheer volume of students.

Sure, you could cram 50 students into a class.  But to what advantage?  In this scenario, saving money doesn't equate to better-educated students.  This isn't the production of widgets.

There is a legal cap on the number of number of charter schools allowed to operate in New York State.  The UFT is using their clout to advocate that this cap not be lifted.

Offline lanseaux

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2010, 02:22:27 PM »
There is a legal cap on the number of number of charter schools allowed to operate in New York State.  The UFT is using their clout to advocate that this cap not be lifted.

Sorry I misunderstood your reference.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2010, 04:22:26 PM »
Sorry I misunderstood your reference.

No worries.  I'm in favor of small class sizes.  Or at least giving students the maximum possible amount of attention.

Offline ddanny999

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2010, 04:52:18 PM »
I am a big fan of UFT myself.  They work hard to keep quality teachers and make our educational system better.  The teachers I know are some of the most dedicated public servants around - fighting to make a difference in the lives of children in the city every day.

This kind of blatant shilling may have gotten you elected at that political club, but this is a load of crap.

Offline Sweeper

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2010, 06:18:09 PM »
I'm glad that this conversation expanded, because it is important.

Quote
But if you feel the UFT isn't interested in children, can't the argument be made that neither does the City. What if they just want to hire someone cheaper, not better?

Certainly that argument can be made, and that's an excellent point. But who hires people to run the city? I would say that it is you and me. So who is the UFT negotiating with ultimately? Again, it is our responsibility to ensure that the most competent officials are running this great city. (I'll let the judgement on this stand)
Personally I'm not interested in any public employee having a bad work environment. I know very well the value that positive management support can have. That being said, it is also important that labor issues are dealt with without emotion. More than once it has been said that education is not producing a product. I disagree. The product is the knowledge imparted to the next generation. Do it well and you should enjoy raises and job security. Suck at it and be fired. Every where we look this is the status quo and it works. But for some reason we look at public sector employees and feel that the laws of economics don't apply. This goes for police and firefighters too, by the way. Medical cost in the private sector go up, so companies make employees start to share the burden. In the public sector, the taxpayers pick up the burden. And the worst part about this: political hacks brag about union endorsements. Holy crap! They are actually telling you that they are going to suck when it comes to spending money that you have earned.

Offline Sweeper

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2010, 06:21:40 PM »
Quote
Do you think it's possible that someone could want to keep his/her job with fair treatment and decent wages while also caring about the children that said job affects?
More than possible, it is probably the norm. But please define "fair treatment and decent wages". Because ultimately, that is all this is about.

Offline casicua

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Re: The people against ridiculous spending - TODAY - 5-18-10, 6pm
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2010, 11:42:30 PM »
More than possible, it is probably the norm. But please define "fair treatment and decent wages". Because ultimately, that is all this is about.
That was really my reaction to this response to the OP:
...I feel that you are not really interested in "the children of NYC". I can't think of any organization that has been more against the interests of children.
I read that as (correct me if I'm wrong) you writing off the motives of the UFT and the OP as completely disinterested in the interests of the children. My contention is simply that the fighting for self-interest, in the case of the teachers, does not necessarily equate to being against the interests of the children they teach.
To be honest, I don't know every detail of what the UFT stance on every issue is. I do, however, know quite a few NYC teachers who are members of the union and from what I can gather, take a primary interest in the kids that they teach above their own. Frankly, I know that if they wanted a career where they got overpaid for the work they do- teaching certainly wasn't the choice profession for it. I believe that their vested interest with the UFT is a fair one.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 11:51:49 PM by casicua »


 

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