Quote: Good Teachers Not Afraid Of Change


Good teachers exist in great numbers and they aren't afraid of changing the way things are done to ensure students get the very best education in this state. --Ken Swanson in the SJR


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  • Aren't we really talking about firing teachers and increasing class sizes, then adding a bunch of computers / software to provide "on the spot" intervention? What CPs saves on pensions, they can spend Bill Gates' computers.

  • I agree with the quote above about accepting change. I think it is most appropriate as changes are important in these budget-strapped times.

    In full disclosure, I

  • In reply to Mnachum:

    Sounds interesting. Which schools have this in place now?

  • In reply to Adele:

    There are over 30,000 schools worldwide using this technology. If you take a look here, under Education, it will give a sense of different deployments throughout the US http://www.ncomputing.com/stories

  • In reply to Mnachum:

    Any schools here in Chicago?

  • In reply to Mnachum:

    To Traditional American

    Not to be a wise guy but where did you get this

  • In reply to Mnachum:

    I get the part about one desktop. That's what we have in our room. What's this about a screen/keyboard for each pair of students? What is a screen/keyboard? Is it wireless? Do they need batteries?

  • In reply to Mnachum:

    March 9, 2011: Arne Duncan --

  • In reply to Adele:

    Is the digital tutor replacing a teacher? Or augmenting? In other words, would the student still attend a regular classroom for 5 hours a day and then go use the digital tutor for 1-2 hours? That might work if they have a break between regular school & tutor time where the students could run, stretch etc. Maybe they could call that period recess or something?

  • In reply to cermakRd:

    Rahm will lay off teachers to cut the city's pension obligations. He will say it's because schools are "failing" and need to be "reformed." But we know it's because of poverty and its attendant problems. He will say that computers are the solution to kids that fall behind. But we know what a boondoggle looks like in Chicago.

  • In reply to cermakRd:

    I couldn't understand why Arne always utters sound-bites instead of articulating a well-rounded, deeply analyzed plan. He went to Harvard, right?
    I've come to the conclusion that he utters sound bites because those are the talking points to get the public to swallow some terrible ideas, like firing teachers and boosting class size to 35 - 37.
    He know is he discussed the particulars, everyone would see that their is no substance to his "reform." So he smiles and sticks to sound bites. He's excellent at sounding concerned about the children.

  • In reply to Adele:


    Teachers do not fear change. However we are real
    sensitive to mutation.

  • You said: "The trouble is that so much that goes on in traditional classrooms is uninspiring, irrelevant, poorly taught and accompanied by the classroom management style of a marine drill sergeant."

    How do you know that? Seriously -- how do you know what goes on in the all the classrooms all across America? Just curious.

  • In reply to QuietObserver:

    Just ask the kids. They'll tell you that what goes on in their classrooms is uninspiring, irrelevant to their lives, and poorly taught.


  • In reply to Danaidh:

    A friend worked 17 years in a CPS school in a high-poverty south side neighborhood. Year after year she took her class of kindergartners and taught each one to read and write. She bought gifts for each one at Christmas. The first grade teachers would fight over who would get her kids.
    Really, what do you now about education first-hand?

  • In reply to QuietObserver:

    better to wear red than see it, i suppose:

    "The CTU is encouraging all members to wear red this Friday and every Friday in solidarity with Wisconsin public workers. CORE members can lead the way. Wear red and encourage all your colleagues to do the same!"

  • In reply to QuietObserver:

    @ Teacher who cares: Your good heart and talent are evident. I'm sorry you were treated poorly. But it's really not personal. It's about money, and you are just a pension obligation that the city doesn't want to make good on. There are a lot like you.

    Let me explain. Wall Street banks sold state and city pension funds their toxic mortgage investments, telling them they were AAA-rated, but knowing they were likely to default.
    (Remember Vanecko, the mayor's nephew?)

    Now the politicians want to blame the workers! Calling them slobs, greedy, incompetent, etc. Attacking working class and middle class families, breaking unions and mass firings. But it's all about the pensions they don't want to make good on.

    If you want to see something enlightening, watch Matt Taibbi explain why not one Wall Street criminal has gone to jail for even one day. Here's the link.


  • I am a great teacher too, and assumptions like those of 4:33 are just variations on the tired teacher-bashing theme (that poor dead horse!). I am concerned that I don't know a single college student (and I know a lot) who is thinking about going into teaching. Just the suggestion of teaching as a possible career choice causes either laughter or scowls. Occassionally I tell one of my student's that she or he would make a great teacher, and the reaction is the same, along with a comment like, "I would never let myself be disrespected like that". Sigh...we do teach some very smart kids.

    Been thinking this week about Wisconsin and Arne and Mazany and Emmanuel and all the education committees and university brains and policy groups and legislators and reformers-- all working so hard, all so sincere in their efforts to make education better. But they can't. Only the classroom teacher an parents can.

    We stand alone daily in those rooms, 99.99% of the time having total control over what our students learn and how they learn it, and all the policy-making, strategic planning, and data-driven research in the world is not going to change that fact. A little faith is in order -- faith that the vast majority of us are doing the very best that we can. Because you really have no other choice than to believe that.

  • Not naming any names. These are teachers talking right? Break out the Strunk and White!

  • In reply to cklaus76:

    You might want to pick up a copy for yourself:

    "Yes we too put the posters. One wall of my room is totally plastered. Kids are adding non like denominator fractions with their calculators! Look at their answer documents, folks! Every year I catch one or two with missing answers or answers put in the wrong place.

    I teach Science. I showed kids sample questions for about 20 mins. last week - that's it. Scores go up, scores go down. As long as the intermediate Sci teacher and I work hard at our regular curriculum I'm not too stressed about the test. I tell the 7th students that they only need to get half of the Sci questions right in order to be considered at grade level, it's not scored like a conventional classroom exam. After the test the eighth graders burned food to measure its caloric value. They loved doing it. Too many teachers are going easy with instruction after the test. It's still winter."

  • I have been saying this all along. Teachers are not the enemy here. Parents that refuse to parent and governments that cut funding are the problem. I could give at least 10 stories of how day after day I try to not only invest my time but my money as well for my students. I volunteer to tutor them an hour before school. I have bought books to teach with because when I started at my former school there were no books for my students. I have bought shoes, clothing and supplies for my students because their parents did not do this for them. I did not get paid back for anything I spent except from my students by way of trust and kindness.

    I have never heard in all of this teacher bashing anything about how the students have felt, how the parents feel, and how the teachers feel, not just about losing money but the sense of family they built with their coworkers and students. This is what has crushed me the most. I sincerely miss my coworkers. Then to have a bachelors, masters, and NBCT certification to top it all off and to be displaced 8 days before the end of the school year in the middle of the school day was not only humiliating but just heart wrenching.

    I was supposed to loop with my 4th graders which means I would have them for 2 years instead of 1. When they found out that I was not coming back the students were so upset and worried about their future. When 9 and 10 year old children are worried about their future something is wrong! I have students that still email me to ask for help with their homework or to receive reassurance about upcoming tests and I no longer work at that school.

    What the government and the people have done by the teacher bashing has made me so sad. I pay taxes, I have children and yet I am treated as if I live in a bubble by myself with all of my riches and none of the issues "normal" people have.

    Have any of you complainers ever looked at the makeup of the Board of Education in Chicago that was appointed by the Mayor? How many have a reasonable amount of experience in the education field to make curriculum decisions or monetary decisions based on the educational good for all students and not just the students from certain schools in certain neighborhoods? Look the board up, watch a board meeting, ask me if a board member has ever come to my school or if they have ever come to my friends schools when it wasn't for a free photo op. Think about all of the time you volunteer at your children's school, and then ask me how many parents volunteered at mine. Ask me how many hours I show up before school starts and how many hours I am at the school after the students have left, or the weekends I have spent back in my room doing the mountains of paperwork, or the times that I spend coming in during the summer so my classroom is a great place to be and to learn in. Maybe then with true answers politics, unions, money aside, you teacher bashers can get your facts straight.

    One last question. Have you ever wondered why it is so easy for politicians to cut funding for schools so quickly and easily instead of lending millions and billions of dollars the US does not have to other countries? Think about it and you may realise how important the government feels about your children getting a public education.

  • In reply to teachwhocares:

    Sorry there was no edit button. I meant, have you ever wondered why it is so easy for the government to cut educational spending that benefits its own American people but so easy to say yes to lending millions and billions of dollars that the US does not have to other countries? Think about it, and you may realise just how important it is to the government that your children get a "GREAT" public education.

  • That was exactly my point. Thankx for concurring!

  • It is sad. Wonder where the leadership is for the Democratic Party base?

    I saw an alarming commercial from a GOP group saying unions are too powerful! It advocates that people tell President Obama they want unions "reformed." (That word again.)

    So send Obama you own email. I did. It's easy. Here's the link.


    And if you are worried and can't sleep at night, you can always call the White House. The operators are really nice.

  • Historically CPS has used "under-utilization" as a reason for closing or consolidating schools! CPS has identified 224 schools as utilizing less than 50% of their capacity. From 2001 to 2010, CPS has closed 72 schools, impacting 21,197 students: 83% African- American students, 15% Latino students, 15% students with learning disabilities and 91% of these students are eligible for the Free/Reduced Lunch program. CPS will be giving the school building to charter schools that CPS closes for "under-utilization"! CPS now has 71 charter schools, with 33,701 students, operated by 31 organizations (no unions)!

  • The above post was copied from the Substance site by someone other than the original poster. The last sentence was not in the original post.

    People who copy someone else's words should explain that they are doing so.

  • Only the Archdiocese can handle that number of students that quickly. They can also hire many of the thousands of teachers Rahm will fire, at much lower salaries, pension and health benefits.

  • Standing room only on Saturday at the UIC Forum to hear Diane Ravitch speak to this issue of "school reform." CEO Terry Mazany and C Ed O.Charles Payson attended. Very valuable insights, Traditional American, which I think would have clarified some of your points. Hope that the CTU puts the video online.

  • Dear Traditional American,

    Thank you for writing this. As a life-long educator involved in teaching and administration from Kindergarten to post-graduate work, I have seen the ups and downs of teaching in many ways.

    In 1987 I was a young school administrator just beginning to get my feet wet in school leadership. At 28 years old I was proud of my new position but was quite awed with the responsibility of evaluating teachers (some of whom were 30 years older than me).

    I went home one fall weekend to visit my parents and was explaining to Dad about the upcoming week of teacher observations I was about to do. He said, "Remember to build them up, don't tear them down." Good advice and a mantra I observed in all my years as a school leader. But what we lacked then was a structure that would help build them up.

    When I received a new administrative position in the Columbus City Schools in Columbus, Ohio, in 1990, I went into the job with 3 years of experience behind me, enthusiasm for working with a new school community, and a better sense for what needed to happen so this new school would be known for its culture of continuous improvement.

    As the school principal I created and issued a schedule to collect lesson plans. Each teacher would have one week per month to submit a copy of his/her lesson plans to me for review. I printed the schedule and placed them in the teachers' mailboxes.

    Then came the call....

    No more than 10 minutes had passed when my phone rang. It was the CEA union president. He politely welcomed me to the district, then told me that I was not permitted to schedule lesson plan collection. I told him that I had been very careful to read the negotiated agreement and that there was nothing in there that said I couldn't collect lesson plans. His reply was, "There's nothing in there that says you can."

    It was this very attitude of "us vs. them" that prevailed and permeated the entire district at the time. The lesson I learned was to "play the game." I still found a way to be the instructional leader and gain the knowledge of what teachers were doing through other means.

    It is sad to hear that Chicago schools union rejected the Danielson Framework. I wish I had this knowledge when I started in my administrative career. It would have helped me be a better instructional leader. And, it would have been the structure I sought to "build them up" over time.

    Creating a culture of continuous improvement begins with collaboration. True collaboration! People working together in a cohesive leadership team makes it work. Student academic improvement is better in schools where everyone is focused on what works for what child over time. The Danielson framework gives the structure for that to occur.

    You may want to look at this blog post by Educational Impact and share it with folks you know in the Chicago Schools. Perhaps it isn't a mandate, but a recognized need from the teachers themselves to have the right tools and structure in place to help them succeed.


    I would love to continue some dialog around this topic and perhaps eventually see all schools who have been able to collaboratively create schools with cultures of continuous improvement.

    Kind regards,
    Ron Stebelton

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