The USA is no place to raise a child.

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by TimeTraveler, May 2, 2009.

  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    The problem is that, due to teacher's unions and tenure, it's damned near impossible to fire bad teachers. So what happens to them? They get sent to the "bad schools" (ie inner city or poor areas).
    It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court challenges and re-hearings.

    Not only is the process arduous, but some districts are particularly unsuccessful in navigating its complexities. The Los Angeles Unified School District sees the majority of its appealed dismissals overturned, and its administrators are far less likely even to try firing a tenured teacher than those in other districts.

    * Building a case for dismissal is so time-consuming, costly and draining for principals and administrators that many say they don't make the effort except in the most egregious cases. The vast majority of firings stem from blatant misconduct, including sexual abuse, other immoral or illegal behavior, insubordination or repeated violation of rules such as showing up on time.

    * Although districts generally press ahead with only the strongest cases, even these get knocked down more than a third of the time by the specially convened review panels, which have the discretion to restore teachers' jobs even when grounds for dismissal are proved.

    * Jettisoning a teacher solely because he or she can't teach is rare. In 80% of the dismissals that were upheld, classroom performance was not even a factor.

    When teaching is at issue, years of effort -- and thousands of dollars -- sometimes go into rehabilitating the teacher as students suffer. Over the three years before he was fired, one struggling math teacher in Stockton was observed 13 times by school officials, failed three year-end evaluations, was offered a more desirable assignment and joined a mentoring program as most of his ninth-grade students flunked his courses.

    As a case winds its way through the system, legal costs can soar into the six figures.

    Meanwhile, said Kendra Wallace, principal of Daniel Webster Middle School on Los Angeles' Westside, an ineffective teacher can instruct 125 to 260 students a year -- up to 1,300 in the five years she says it often takes to remove a tenured employee.

    Laziness, apathy or poor performance often aren't firing offenses, some school officials complain.

    "We as administrators, knowing how difficult it is, tend to make excuses for the employee, and I think in some cases, accept mediocrity," said L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

    Strapped districts are forced to keep tenured staffers they deem unworthy even as they must consider layoffs for less-experienced teachers, without regard to their talents.,0,679507.story?page=1
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  3. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    Its not about what you consider valuable, its about outcomes. While being bullied and failing may be valuable experiences to you, they arent/werent valuable for us all.
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  5. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    Just because something is hard to get into, doesnt make it better. Elite doesnt mean class, its also status and politics, family name and connections.If your parents went to Harvard, you'll go to Harvard even if your parents got art degrees. The legacy program worked for the Bushes, Kennedys and for Obama. If you are politically important, like if your father is a diplomat, then maybe you'll go to Harvard or Yale. And of course if your dad is a high level member of the most elite country club, when you apply to Harvard you can bet your ass you'll be accepted.

    There is a reason why certain families are over represented at elite schools, it's nepotism not elitism. How do I know all this? I went to school in Mass and some of the very same professors who were teaching my class were also teaching at MIT and Harvard. If the same professors teach at multiple schools, and Harvard has bigger classes, the benefit to going to Harvard have little to do with the school being better on the undergraduate level. It's only on the graduate level that schools like Harvard are better, and thats because of the funding for research. Harvard is a private school and they have billions, so they can afford to fund research while many other universities cannot. This isn't such a big problem in Mass as all the public universities in this state share resources and the state funds these schools with tax dollars, but if you go to school overseas or in some other state then yes you want to go to grad school at Harvard just so you can access the library and the labs.
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  7. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member


    I don't think making teachers easier to fire is the solution. I think pay should be based on performance, and I think teachers should have the chance to get rich for investing in students much like how bankers and the wallstreet class can get paid based on performance and on investments. When you look at a teacher and connect their pay to where their students end up working, or what colleges their students are accepted into, this will provide for incentive.

    The problem with Americans is we expect people to save the world for free, but to destroy the world we want to pay them millions or billions to do that. We get what we deserve for being shallow selfish irrational idiots.
  8. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    The world is no place to raise a child.
  9. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Yes. And that goes for all of us, not just Americans.
  10. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

    Um, that's a terrible idea for teachers who work in poor counties where education is not as highly valued, such as where I live. You're punishing teachers for accepting a challenge. This is actually why I opted not to become a teacher in the first place.
  11. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    It's definitely part of the solution. Right now, teachers are damned near impossible to fire. Furthermore, education is one of the easiest majors in college. If education is so important, why should teachers be the only profession where you can't be fired for incompetence? As it stands now, even child molesters take years to fire in some districts!
  12. Aerika Registered Senior Member

    I'm going to re-post my comments for the third time. The schools from the list I posted are considered better by Shanghai Jiao Tong university. They measure how many professors and alumni who have Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals and other academic awards and that have articles published in Scientific outlets. Even though it is subjective, there is a significant amount of objectivity to their findings. I merely presented the findings of Shangai to show that America isn't nearly as bad your opening OP suggested.

    And I have stated that I agree that the wealthy have an academic advantage in obtaining a quality education. But there is always going to be advantages to the wealthy. That reality in life is fairly consistent all through history and exists in virtually every imaginable type of government.

    Everybody else in America still has the opportunity to get a quality education, though. That's another area we are seemingly at odds with each other. We have literally thousands of colleges spread across America that offer academic scholarships, aid, and student loans. We have students from all social classes attending these colleges. Admittedly there are schools that have predominately privileged students but there are also colleges that have predominately underprivileged students.

    The students that are bringing down the averages in America are the students that don't care. And there are thousands of them spread across America. But they cannot blame the American system for their underwhelming achievements.

    A good education starts at home. Parents need to take more responsibility of their child's education. It's not enough to send them to school , they have to inspire and follow-through to insure they are keeping up.

    And children reach the point where they have to start taking responsibility for their own decisions in life. It's disingenuous to start your SR year of high-school and blame the schools or your social class for your dismal grades. There are far too many examples of underprivileged children excelling in life.

    Everybody wants to blame anybody else for their failures or bad decisions. But the vast majority of people in America that don't have a college education have only themselves and their parents to blame.

    Top 10 Universities Worldwide
    1. Harvard, US
    2. Stanford, US
    3. Cambridge UK England
    4. University of California, Berkeley, US
    5. Massachusetts Inst Tech, US
    6. California Inst Tech, US
    7. Princeton, US
    8. Oxford UK England
    9. Columbia, US
    10. Chicago, US

    The table below show the top ten universities in a world league of research universities compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong university, which was founded in 1896, and is among the oldest Chinese universities. The league, which Shanghai’s academics admit is biased towards science-based universities, measures them on academic research, including the numbers of staff or alumni who have won Nobel prizes and Fields medals in maths; highly acclaimed researchers; and articles published in magazines such as Nature and Science. American universities dominate the table with the two top British universities among them ”
  13. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

    I didn't know all kids are bullied and failed every subject in school. There was never a teacher that made a difference in a child's life? Never a social group that got a child interested in something they or their parents may never have thought of? Never learned anything the least bit interesting? I obviously can't speak for every child, because every child is different, so maybe some might do better with homeschooling, but I think the negative aspects of homeschooling outweigh the benefits. I shudder to think of all the things I would never have learned if my mother had taught me, all the different perspectives I would have never gained. I know I can't give my kids a wide range of perspectives and values so they will go to school take the all the bad and the good that comes with it, just like we all do in everything that we do.
  14. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

    That's not true. I got into a very selective school and neither of my parents even went to college. Just because some people buy their way in doesn't mean most do. In fact only a few of the students here were dumb monkeys who parents bought them a spot. Most of the students here got in the same way I did, got excellent grades in high school, high test scores, a lot of participation in extracurricular activities, having leadership qualities, and wrote a motivating essay on their application. They had to work their butts off in high school just like everyone else. Schools who are leading research universities like my school allow undergraduates to participate in research, (a valuable experience, I mentioned earlier, one you don't get when you stay at home). Another great thing about an elite university is it's connects to other elite universities worldwide. I could study just about anywhere in the world, (including Antarctica, which sounds interesting) through my college's program. Something College of the Sequoias, which I'm sure you've heard of

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    probably can't fund.
  15. CutsieMarie89 Zen Registered Senior Member

    That's why they don't do it anymore. Those teachers should all be close to retiring now though.
  16. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    And yet, there are 6 billion of us here..

    Humanity never asked itself the question "why?"
    "Why do we deserve to survive?".
    Maybe we don't..

    but we're here anyway.
  17. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Yep. Nice quote btw

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  18. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

    It doesn't really matter how bad the schools are if you have the ability to teach your children yourself when they're not in school. Also, I know more than a few contractors that make over $100k a year and never graduated high school(granted, all of them but 1 are 35+ atm). I kind of like America, there's a lot of pretty cool people here and the people that aren't that cool teach you to recognise bullshit at a pretty young age. Then again, I haven't really went anywhere else.
  19. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member


    Explain to me why this is a bad thing? If they are smart enough to make money playing video games, why is that a problem? We are the losers with the dumb jobs while they get to play video games for a living.
  20. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    You obviously are not an American, or you grew up rich and sheltered. I didn't receive a good education growing up in the USA, thats why I'm writing this thread. I had to educate myself by hanging out at the library for hours every day for years, and then use the computer technology and the internet to teach myself a lot of what was supposed to be taught to me in school.

    I'm lucky enough to have been talented with computers and wise enough to take matters into my own hands, but I don't think the majority of kids in any country are going to take matters into their own hands. So to say everyone in America has a chance to get an education is as dumb as saying everyone in America has a chance to get rich, or a chance to win on American idol, or a chance to play professional sports, or a chance to win the lottery. The odds are so far against the person that their chances are very slim and getting slimmer every year.

    I went to college and didn't go to well funded schools. But when 50-60% drop out of school and only 20-30% graduate college, this puts me in the top 5-10% of people and thats really not much of a chance at all if you have to be in the top 5% of people to get an education in this country. So when you say theres so many examples, its only 5%, which means 95% of kids in that situation are going to fail and fail hard.
  21. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    Thats not even even an American University. Why should we care what a University in China is saying? Let's also look at the fact that these schools have LOTS of Chinese students and this may also play a role in biasing the study. If I were to go to Africa and ask the top African University what they think the top schools in the USA are, would I be suspicious of their results if they listed the historically black colleges as the top schools?

    I actually went to school in Boston and was taught by some of these "best" professors. You can listen to my first hand accounts or you can listen to some people in another country.

    None of this has anything to do with a professors ability to teach. Yes Harvard has the best resources for Research, thats why they win so many prizes, but I don't take the Nobel Prize s and Fields Medals as a symbol of success in science either. A lot of the time the person who makes a discovery is not the same person who receives credit for the discovery. There are a lot of politics involved in who wins the Nobel prize, and in my opinion it's more to do with politics than genius. So to me it doesn't matter so much what the individual scientists received prizes for, because I don't see the Nobel Prize system as being something somewhat fair like the Olympics, I see it as being something political and often Professors steal ideas from their students and often you have situations where one country steals ideas from other countries and you have a lot of nationalism and politics involved. Once again making the case that Harvard and schools like that are for the elites, not just the smart.

    We can have the battle of statistics but I'm not going to go there. The fact is that yes the USA has some of the richest most elite universities in the world. The USA is the richest country in the world. But if you aren't born an elite, none of the benefits or riches go to you. So I'm speaking from the perspective of someone who was not born an elite when I say there is no difference in the quality of education you'll research in the Ivy League schools as you'll receive in the state universities.
    There is always an aristocracy. I'm just saying, lets stop promoting the schools of the aristocracy. It's giving them credit they haven't earned. These elite people are the same people who destroyed the economy with their elite educations. What have they done right in the past 40-50 years? Why should we give them so much credit?

    I was an underprivileged student. But only the top 5% of the underprivileged are good enough to go to college and graduate, while 80-90 percent of the aristocracy go to college and graduate. Since I'm one of these underprivileged people you speak of, I'm speaking for my social class when I say that the education system in the USA stinks and gets worse with every generation. It's not the fault of the teachers, or the students.

    The students dont care because the teachers don't care. The teachers don't care because society doesn't care enough to pay them well. So the society doesn't care and it creates a chain reaction which affects the attitudes of the student. Why should a student care about a society which doesn't care about them? The society is building more prisons for them than schools so why should they care?

    You sound like a rich elitist. Did you ever consider that some parents are single parents raising children on their own? Did you ever consider that poor parents have to work twice as hard to make ends meet? If you want parents to have more time to raise their kids, reduce the workday to 6 hours, then you can demand that parents spend 2 hours teaching their children to read and do math. We don't live in an era where there is a parent at home to help a child with his or her homework. I grew up with a single parent, nobody was home to help me with my homework.

    Children don't control their environment. You can take a child with a genius level IQ, put that child in a shitty environment, and that child might not have the strength of will to survive. Instead of reading books, that child is going to be too busy dealing with gangs, drugs, and whatever else their environment brings them to deal with. Environment plays a role and environment is a result of social class structure. When you say there are far too many examples, if you are saying that because 5% of kids actually manage to educate themselves, this is as ridiculous as thinking that the healthcare situations in the third world countries are okay because some of the best athletes in the world come from these third world countries. That is highly flawed thinking. The top 5% of people simply have good genetics that gave them the right set of traits, if you took the average kid from the upper class and put them in the same situation, about 90% of them would die or fail. It's only quality when the success rates are equal or at least close to equal between the classes.
    Children do not decide where to grow up. Children do not decide what the laws are. Society decides to create ghettos, poverty, and a shitty school system and then demand degrees and academic success. This puts unfair pressures on kids growing up in unsafe environments while putting no pressure at all on kids growing up insafe environments. How exactly are we going to produce a smarter population if we don't make it an unsafe environment for every kid, or a safe environment for every kid? The fact that you don't consider environment as a factor, leads me to believe you grew up in a sheltered safe environment. This attitude you have further proves my point that America is no place to raise a child.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  22. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member


    You can make $100,000 a year being a mercenary without a highschool education, but thats the only job I can think of.

    Generally if you work you wont have time to teach your kids. And generally since both parents have to work, theres no time for either parent to teach their kids.
  23. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member

    I wont go so far. Some countries actually utilize their citizens by making college education mandatory. The USA just likes to create useless citizens and then throw them in prison. The USA has this guard/prisoner mentality where you only get to choose between being a prison guard or a prisoner, theres no independent party.

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