Tag Archives: scam

The Teacher Shuffle: One Great Big Lie

All the calls for “education reform,” mainly revolving around the phrases “teacher accountability”  and “test scores,” sound so reasonable when uttered, but are really just a cover for a great big fat lie.

I just saw on the news that the Kansas City, Mo., school district is firing 100 teachers at the end of this school year, replacing them with 150 Teach for America candidates for next year. According to the news report, district officials said they are only letting go of teachers who have received negative evaluations and whose students have scored poorly on state assessment tests. This is another great big fat lie.

Come on teachers. Come on people. When are we going to wake up and see what is really happening? When are we going to start sticking up for ourselves and stop letting them tell these lies?

 This is not at all about improving the state of education. This is not at all about the “students.” Everyone spouts off about the “children.” The powers that be say things like, “We are doing this for the children. You know, it is the children who should come first.” Guess what that is — another great big fat lie.

The powers that be do not care about the children. They do not care if every child truly gets the best education.

They are not putting in 12 hours in the classroom and then another four at home so their students can have an engaging lesson. They are not patiently sitting there next to a reluctant student and continually offering encouragement until finally one sentence is written, and sadly, they do not realize what a victory that truly is sometimes.

No test can ever show that. No test can ever account for small breakthroughs like that. That student probably will still score poorly on the test, but that little moment may have just changed his life. The test cannot reveal the future. The test cannot tell you if a child has grown. The test cannot tell you if a child has “learned.” The test can only tell you if a child can remember.

Yet, the powers that be spout on about the test. They will never tell you this, but the test is their ultimate secret weapon. It is not about the children. The fact that they do not even compare the results of a group of students to the same group the next year tells you that. That would be a true measure of growth. That would be a true indicator of progress.

This is not about growth, or learning, or progress. The only thing that matters is money. That is all this is about — the almighty dollar. The test is just one more way to get rid of teachers who cost too much. Why pay a teacher with 20 years of experience $60,000, when you can get two Teach for America kids for less than that? Inevitably, the experienced teacher will have a year with a more challenging group of students who do not test well. That will be just what those in power were waiting for, the ammunition they need to get rid of that expensive teacher.

I have worked with teachers who entered education through non-traditional routes such as Teach for America. While some of them did quite well, overall, they are not as effective as teachers who attained certification through an accredited school of education.

In general, they do not manage classrooms as well. They do not create lessons that are as challenging, preferring to rely on textbooks and worksheets. To top it off, a higher percentage of them wash out within the first one to three years. Do you think any of that matters to the powers that be? Why would it?

This is a guaranteed way to put a warm body in the classroom for the least amount of money, and then to top it off, they can do it again in just a couple of years. Throwing the new “teachers” in the grinder and pushing them out will save school districts millions of dollars over the next decade.

That’s right folks. These Teach for America kids might as well just be volunteers, they are paid so little. Remember, they are “giving back to their country.” What they are really doing is giving school districts a way to show their experienced teachers the door and saving a ton of money in the process.

This is also why graduates of education schools are being ignored. There are plenty of them out there, ready to get to work. Districts do not want them because they will stick around longer. Eventually, that means they will cost more. If they stick to hiring the Teach for America volunteers, the odds are greater that they can just keep hiring 23-year-olds who will be gone before they hit 26.

Will the Kansas City district get rid of some truly poor teachers when they fire these 100 educators at the end of this year? Yes, they will. In the group, there will be some who should never have been teachers in the first place. But, this will be a much smaller number than everyone will be led to believe. Test scores can be misinterpreted or misapplied. Evaluations can be based on personal beliefs and feelings more than actual effectiveness. 

There is no profession that does not have some low-performing individuals. Odds are if I dismiss 100 people from any job, five or six will have been truly bad. Just wait until all these Teach for America kids get in there. The percentage who are low performing out of the 150 will be much higher than it is among the 100 educators who were fired.

This is all a scam. It is being sold as “education reform” and as a way to “cure the ills” of our education system, but that is the greatest, biggest, fattest lie of all. This is not going to cure our system. This is going to kill it.

Swine Flu: True Stats or Just Plain Slop?

Frightening words and scary numbers are being bandied about when it comes to the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as the “Swine Flu.” Words such as “pandemic,” “epidemic,” “surge” and “die.” The numbers range from 30 percent of the U.S. population to 50 percent, with up to 90,000 dead.

All these frightening words, all these scary numbers; yet, little evidence to back them up. More people will wind up dying out of sheer terror thinking about the swine flu than actually from the illness itself.

Tonight, the Channel 9 (ABC-Kansas City) news caught my attention with their report on the swine flu. The report said that some so-called “experts” were saying up to half of the U.S. population could be infected by the H1N1 virus this year and up to 90,000 people could die.

I then read an article by Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press that reported the findings of a “White House expert panel” that said anywhere from 30 percent to half of Americans could be infected “during the course of this pandemic and that from 30,000 to 90,000 could die.” (1)

To that I say, prove it. To that I say, I will believe it when I see it. To that I say, stop trying to scare us to death and start governing the way you should.

We are being toyed with by this sorry excuse for a government. This is the classic trick of the illusionist, being executed on a grand scale. The trick is distraction and, sorry to say, for many it is working.

When the threat becomes one against life itself, all other threats rapidly recede into the background. Front and center is swine flu and its voracious appetite for destruction.

Economic woes are forgotton; the rising cost of energy is forgotton; the attacks on the very foundations of our society are forgotton. We are too busy sanitizing our lives, hiding behind useless masks with big deer-in-the-headlight eyes to see all that is being taken from us.

It is unbelievable to me that in the very same AP article, just a little more than a paragraph under the claim that “30,000 to 90,000” people might die, Stobbe writes, “No cause for panic. So far, swine flu isn’t much more threatening than regular seasonal flu.”

What? Are you serious? Who is sending out the misinformation here? The White House and its “experts”? The optimists at the AP? Who are we supposed to believe?

Here’s what I believe — don’t buy into the hype, don’t believe what you hear. Use common sense and don’t allow these “experts” to frighten you to death. Let’s not repeat the big Y2K scam (invest in a generator company, anyone?)  and make the elderly rush out to purchase bubbles in which to live (if I knew what company made those bubbles, I would definitely invest!).

Since the threat of terrorism has diminished, the government needs some other way to distract us while our rights, freedoms and ethics continue to erode. This White House has found just such a threat and have given it a name.

Its name is the “Swine Flu.” I think it is just a bunch of slop.

(1) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090901/ap_on_he_me/us_med_swine_flu10_things