Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Teachers Gone Wild"

James O'Keefe does it again.  He got folks to tape a leadership conference for New Jersey's teachers unions.  While I do know some good teachers--people who really and truly want to help kids learn, these 'leaders' do not show any of those qualities.  What they really are is a reason to get rid of the tenure system altogether since a lot of the video is about how unless you are f***ing a student in the hallway, you can't get fired once you're tenured and how great tenure is because you can get away with almost anything, including using racial slurs to a student's face (anywhere else, that would be a firing offense, apparently in New Jersey, the most that would happen is that the teacher gets demoted).  Also, it seems that union leadership conferences in New Jersey include chants and songs about committing assault on the person of the governor of the state.  Read the article here and watch Chris Christie's response as well as the O'Keefe video.  Christie, as usual, is spot on.  The teachers in the video are frightening.

Something that occurred to me while I was watching the video is that this attitude seems to be, in my experience, pervasive through the United States educational system, from K-12 to higher education.  I believe that the attitudes shown by the NJ teachers was actually indoctrinated into them during their higher ed experience (since there are so many roadblocks to becoming a teacher if you haven't gone through the entire programming process).  As an aside, I find it interesting that a synonym for indoctrination is teaching

There are two sides of the problem with the educational system in the United States.  The first is the fact that the teacher's unions in the US have grown beyond their function into parasitic entities.  Instead of working for the good of their constituency, they are working to maintain their own power.  One way of doing that is preventing accountability by any teacher to the administration, parents, and the students themselves. 

The second side to this coin is government involvement in the educational process and the co-option of that process by the unions.  When teachers are having to teach to standardized tests, rather than passing on actual information, when teachers are not required to take more than a few courses in subjects they teach (and pass a standardized test...  hmmmm) but instead are taught 'teaching methods' and 'self-esteem building' but don't even have the skills or knowledge to tell if the books that they are using have correct information, then that is a breakdown of the system that is exacerbated by tenure and the unions.  Spending has gone through the roof, mainly due to union demands and the increased number of teachers, without any real results.

Himself passed me the below information a few days ago (source: Cato @ Liberty).  I think these graphs illustrate my points without my having to elaborate further.....


Chas S. Clifton said...

Why do teachers seem worse now than in the good ol' days? One reason, I think, is that smart women have more job choices than they did in the 1950s and 1960s.

Men, meanwhile, are leery of teaching primary school, lest they be perceived as pedophiles.

And don't get me started on university education departments. Yes, they do tend to push certain ideologies, at least at the university where I taught for seventeen years.

I taught one rhetoric class that drew mainly future primary-school teachers, because it fulfilled a requirement for them.

I used to say that a third of my class might make good teachers (particularly the "non-traditional" -- over 25 -- students). A third might be acceptable if they pulled their socks up and worked hard and realized that they had to do more than just "love children."

The final third should have sought jobs as fast-food restaurant cashiers.

George said...

I taught high school in the 70s ... but up here in the Great White North ... so my experiences on that side of the argument may have little bearing on today's environment. Still ... while the indoctrination aspect wasn't as great then, the calibre of teaching wasn't that great either. We had to respond to the great bloom of children ... and breathing was considered a qualification.

(Frankly, your description of the teachers' unions also applies to any other union.) Their only rationale is aggrandizement ... and that's for the union professionals, not so much for the hapless ninnies in the front of the classes.


Midwest Chick said...

Chas, you bring up two very important points. I hadn't considered the wider job market for women and the 'pedophile/evil/bad/male' manhaters club that's also helping to destroy the fabric of the country. I had the utter displeasure of working in a College of Ed for an endless year and what I saw totally soured me on the state of education today.

George--you're right and the teachers union is no different than any other. It has run its useful life course and they should now go gently into that good night since they've also helped to destroy the economy of the US. And, as seems to happen, the rules for the union professionals definitely don't flow down to the serfs paying for their conference/vacations.