Sunday, November 27, 2005


Still, it must be hard to get anyone decent to teach in their shitty public schools so perhaps the principals are doing what they have to do until school discipline is reformed

"Nearly 40 percent of all public school principals in the city acknowledged "passing the lemon" - urging incompetent, tenured teachers to relocate to another school instead of trying to have them fired, according to a new study released yesterday. The practice has been a convenient way for principals to bypass the lengthy firing process for teachers outlined in state law and teachers' contracts.

According to the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit consulting firm that helps school districts recruit and train teachers, 37 percent of the 434 principals surveyed last year admitted trying to push off poor teachers to other schools. Michelle Rhee, CEO of the organization, said the practice "may be a rational response to the inability to remove tenured teachers for poor performance."

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said the findings helped shape the new teachers' contract, which was ratified this month. It eliminated the right of senior teachers to transfer to other schools - often pushing out well-regarded novice teachers in the process. The senior teachers would often exercise their right to leave - after getting a pointed suggestion from their principal. The city Department of Education estimated that about 500 tenured teachers used their seniority to transfer to another school without the approval of the new school's principal.

About 2,300 more tenured teachers last year went to new schools under different plans in which seniority was also a factor. Nearly a quarter of principals surveyed reported losing at least one handpicked beginning teacher to a senior teacher because of the transfer rules.

Teachers union president Randi Weingarten called the report "anti-teacher" and accused the organization of bias because it did not seek input from the union. "Taken out of its protective clothing, this is simply a report that shills for management's demands, not for a new teacher's needs," she said.

Principals union president Jill Levy, who's in contract talks with the city, acknowledged that principals have tried to pass off inept teachers to other schools. But she said they only did so because the system did not support efforts to fire them".

Source (Newmark compares this policy with the Catholic Church's policy of just shifting pedophile priests from place to place)


Five-year-old children will be tested for basic reading skills twice a year under a national plan to help struggling students. Describing the current state of early childhood and kindergarten education as "a mess", Education Minister Brendan Nelson said the literacy tests would provide parents with results while their children were still identifying words and developing reading skills. Pre-empting a national literacy report to be released soon, Dr Nelson backed the investigation's recommendation of a national testing regime for under-8s. "When a child comes into the system, you have got to have some idea of what their reading skills may be," he told The Weekend Australian. "How is a teacher to know who to concentrate on? "You worry about them all but you've surely got to identify the ones you have got to start from scratch on."

The long-awaited report, Teaching Reading, was commissioned by Dr Nelson amid fears that current teaching methods were failing Australia's children. The minister is expected to announce a shake-up of teacher training in universities when the report is released on December 8.

The report's author, Ken Rowe, said yesterday there was no national regime to test children when they first attended school. "South Australia and Victoria have been doing this for quite a few years," he said. "Some children are even tested when they are 4 1/2. "The idea is they get some sort of indication of their cognitive development - whether they can identify letters, whether they can recognise their own name. "There's currently no national consistency on this. This would give teachers the basics of what they need to know about a child's skills."

His report is expected to include an explicit warning that Australia's schools should embrace "systematic, direct phonics instruction so that children master the essential alphabetic code-breaking skill required for foundational reading proficiency". There has been a controversial debate over which of two approaches is better - the phonics instruction method or the "whole language" method, a "holistic" approach in which children are immersed in language and words, instead of learning first to break down words.

Opposition education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said: "If Brendan Nelson is going to impose a new test on five-year-olds, he must accompany it with additional resources for teachers so that the students requiring extra help actually get it."

Dr Nelson also signalled debate over a shake-up of early childhood education. "Personally, I think that early childhood education is a mess," he said. "It's a question of luck, in many cases, as to where you live in Australia and whether your child will get access to early childhood education and, if so, what the quality will be. "Some of the parents have said to me: 'What are you going to do about children who don't know what a book is?' "I've often said to the university people, who have a voracious appetite for money: 'If you had serious new money to invest in education in Australia, would you get a better human and economic return for it if you invested it in universities or early childhood?' That's a good question."

Dr Nelson also revealed that preliminary results from a controversial tutorial voucher scheme for children have shown a rapid improvement in their reading age of between 12 and 18 months after one-on-one help. Outlining a timetable to work towards a national Year 12 system, known as an Australian Certificate of Education, by 2007, Dr Nelson also indicated that his reform agenda was beginning to secure the support of previously hostile states. The proposal would build on the existing state-based exams, rather than force students to sit more tests. But it would deliver a national approach on key subject areas such as maths, chemistry, physics and English.

Parents forced to move interstate for work could be confident under the new system that their child would have a better chance of settling in, without the stress and upheaval of a different curriculum, Dr Nelson said. "Why can't we have common language, common units of assessment, common standards in core areas?" Dr Nelson maintains that the changes, which would require the agreement of the states, would not require a rigid, inflexible national curriculum across all subjects. "But in some areas, surely, elements of mathematics, physics and chemistry are common to everyone," he said



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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