Trump for president?
It's not for the children -- it's for the unionized progressive teachers (Part II) ...

It's not for the children -- it's for the unionized progressive teachers ...

I believe that our future depends on an educated population that is prepared to compete on a global basis. However, I also believe that both school administrators and teachers’ unions have conspired to create a protected class of public employee that is exempt from all of life’s problems. Guaranteed life-long employment, healthcare, benefits and a retirement that will provide benefits as if they were working full time. That the education system has been manipulated by political special interests who have been sucking money out of the classroom. In many cases funding unbelievable building programs and the implementation of “special” programs which earn kudos from fellow educators and the media – but which do little or nothing to educate our children.

There is no doubt that our union-dominated school systems have turned out decades of functional illiterates. Pandering to the latest and greatest educational theories or teaching a form of political activism rather than reading, writing, arithmetic, history, civics and critical thinking. We have seen the progressives implement whack-job theories which promoted “new math” where the correct answer was almost irrelevant to the solution of the problem, “whole language learning” in which time-tested phonics was replaced by contextual story telling and other programs stressed positive feelings rather than the harsh reality of failure. Failure which often drives greater efforts to perform at higher levels in order to escape the consequences of shame and the negative opinion of your peers. It is a fact of life that not everybody deserves to get the blue ribbon.

So while I do think that parents should donate time, effort and money to their local schools, I do resent any attempt by school districts to hold students hostage by fighting against school vouchers, using children to lobby parents and using school funds to lobby for funds – the most of which will never make it into the classroom to benefit children.

So, I cannot believe that I received a letter from my local school district urging me to lobby my state’s elected officials to “protect schools from further cuts” and to make a “tax deductible” donation to an organization which is identified only as “our district’s Save our Schools campaign.”

I discussed this matter with a friend who has significant experience with educational matters and, in particular, this school district. His suggestion was to return the mailer with a suggestion that the school district allow teachers to indicate which among them are the least effective and abuse benefits, including workman's’ compensation – and cut these teachers loose. A common-sense solution that makes sense in these economically-challenged times.

Here are some of the excerpts from the letter …

Last week, the Las Virgenes Unified School District's Board of Education was forced to initiate the
statutory "layoff process" noticing over 50 bright, enthusiastic and committed teachers and counselors. The word "forced" is the most accurate representation of what our board and boards throughout the state are confronted with following years of draconian cuts from the state and threats of even larger cuts in the future.

Our b0ard, working collaboratively with all stakeholders, has managed to delay what is seemingly the inevitable confrontation between insufficient resources and our mission to provide a world-class education for every child who attends our schools. The $10 million that LVUSD has lost in state funding over the past three years has been mitigated through careful management of one-time federal monies, significant reductions in administration, and restructuring of traditional programs in to more innovative 21st century models. Although the cuts have been painful, they have spurred creative thinking and out of the box solutions resulting in experimentation with new ways to deliver instruction, more utilization of technology, and re-purposing of under-utilized facilities.

Despite the challenges presented by these previous budget cuts, our educational offerings and achievements have expanded. At the elementary level, families can choose a dual-immersion foreign language program, a Waldorf-inspired school, and a global and community-awareness school; and at
the secondary level, the options for students now include an International Baccalaureate program and a Media and Technology Academy. Our schools continue to win state and national honors in music and our graduates are accepted at the most prestigious universities in the country.

What can you do? On a statewide basis, educate relatives and friends in other assembly and senate districts and urge them to contact their legislators to protect schools from further cuts. Locally, please donate to our district's Save Our Schools campaign to enable our Board to rescind as many layoffs as
possible by our May 15 deadline
. If you've already donated, thank you. If you have yet to donate, please visit our website at <link removed> and make your tax deductible contribution to keep our schools a valuable asset to the community and, more importantly, protect the future for our children. If you would prefer to mail in your donation, we have enclosed a remit form and a postage-paid, return envelope for your convenience.

Join us as we continue to do "great things for kids."

Sincerely,

Donald M. Zimring, Ph.D.
Superintendent

P.S. Please don't wait to make your tax-deductible contribution of $100, $500, $1,000 or the highest amount you can afford. You can be an important part of the solution. Thanks again!

While I am pleased that the district has been recognized for state and national honors in music, I would have been more pleased if this letter noted state and national honors in science and mathematics. Or if the letter had substantially less edu-babble and more understandable prose.

The letter bears the letterhead of the Las Virgenes School District. There is no indication that this is being sent by a “support group” and there is a statement that “The Las Virgenes Unified School District Tax ID# is <number deleted>.

Does this letter suggest that funds are being manipulated within the school system. Somehow using tax-exempt donations to offset personnel costs? How can this legally be done?

Look at the progressive educational babble that is supposed to impress us all …

Let’s see what the Waldorf-inspired school might be?

Waldorf education (also known as Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf education) is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based upon the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The educational philosophy's overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny, the existence of which anthroposophy posits. Schools and teachers are given considerable freedom to define curricula within collegial structures. <Source>

What the hell does this mean?

This is the type of edu-babble that makes me crazy. It is a progressive free-form teaching method which allows educators to define both the curricula and the measurements which prove its effectiveness. Sort of like accepting the fact that teachers know how to teach and have a certain level of subject-matter competence without actually testing that ability and competence. Unfortunately, it appears that it is a method by which ideological progressives can indoctrinate other progressives.

An unasked question …

Are the scholastic achievements a function of the teacher’s efforts or the area’s demographics (rich, upper middle class) which produce more involved parents and more motivated students.

Capture2-23-2011-3.27.17 PM3-20-2011-3.02.42 PM

As much as it seems “racist” to cite the obvious, it appears that this school district does not suffer greatly from the problems that affect the inner cities or are being inundated with the poorly-prepared illegal aliens who drag all district scoring averages and individual school performance downward.

A question of discipline, parental involvement and motivation …

I am here to tell you that motivated parents who supervise their children’s activity produce the best students and the best educational outcomes. Those parents who do not have time for their children or are unable to help them understand their lessons, do not value education, and are oblivious to the child’s behavior in the home, outside and in school, are associated with poor educational outcomes. Not in every case, but in enough cases to be statistically significant.

Bottom line …

I do not even know if it is legal for a school district to use district funds to lobby parents on political issues – even of a general nature – or solicit non-profit contributions for the purposes of retaining teachers. And, I wonder exactly how does a non-profit, tax exempt institution transfer tax-free money to a salary account? Or legally manipulate the finances of a school district to benefit personnel.

I value education … but not the sort of progressive education that is being taught today by teachers who are comfortably isolated from the consequences of the economy and their own actions in educating children.

I will donate materials which can be used in the classroom, but I will not donate a damn dime to preserve any teacher’s job as long as they are exempt from competency testing, an annual performance review and the consequences of life.

-- steve

Reference Links …

API Statistics

A little background …

If you wonder why I hate edu-babble, here is an example of some definitions used in the “Waldorf” description. It is almost as if the blind was leading the blind (no offense) and the inmates have taken over the asylum (again, no offense). Why should we pay teachers $60,000 – $100,000 to serve as facilitators when almost any educated parent could lead the discussion on “feelings.” This is all about teaching progressivism – collectivism instead of the individuality which built our nation. Turning out government worker-bees rather than independent, strong entrepreneurs.

Humanistic approach -- broad term that encompasses three main approaches (Kirschenbaum 1975):

  • Humanistic content curricula - Teaching topics that are directly relevant to the students' lives (e.g. drugs awareness)
  • Humanistic process curricula - Focuses on the whole student and can include teaching assertiveness training, for example.
  • Humanistic school and group structures - restructuring the whole timetable and school environment in order to facilitate humanistic teaching or just individual classes. The approach includes:

    On a school level - open classrooms, class meetings and finding alternative ways of assessment.

    • On a class level:
      • Students exercise choice and control over activities
      • Curriculum focuses on what the children are concerned about.
      • Focus on life skills - thinking skills combined with social skills (e.g. sharing and communicating). Co-operative learning
      • Self-evaluation and self-monitoring
      • Teacher becomes a facilitator.

Instructional implications of humanistic theory – Student-centered teaching, social personal development. De-emphasize rigorous, performance-oriented, test-dominated approaches. Provide opportunity for success. Discovery learning. Respects student’s feelings and aspirations. Right to self-determination. <Source>

Pedagogy -- the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction. <Source>

Anthroposophy -- a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development. More specifically, it aims to develop faculties of perceptive imagination, inspiration and intuition through cultivating a form of thinking independent of sensory experience <Source>


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS

Comments