OT - Waiting for "Superman"

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Submitted by an on March 30, 2011 - 10:43pm

Have you guys/gals seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it? What surprised me most is how much we spend on inmate in jails vs how much we spend on students in schools. It also surprises me how hard it is to fire a bad teacher & reward a good teacher. What surprises me the most when Michelle Rhee offer teacher to get paid $122k/yr to give up their tenure, the teachers union wouldn't even allow the proposal to be put to a vote.

Submitted by SK in CV on March 30, 2011 - 11:10pm.

I haven't seen the movie, but I have read quite a bit about it, both pro and con. There was an interesting article in USA Today (link below) earlier this week that raises the question of the veracity of the sudden increases in standardized test scores during Rhee's tenure as the chancellor of the DC schools.

A good friend, a dedicated teacher in Baltimore, has told me she is a charlatan who will ultimately do more damage to the schools than good. After reading the article, I'm inclinded to believe him.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2...

If you've seen the movie, the article is a must read.

Submitted by an on March 31, 2011 - 12:27am.

Interesting article. I can totally see teachers trying to cheat to get a bonus. But that to me is not a knock on the standardize test as much as some teachers/people willing to do anything for a few grand. A simple solution would be to have a SAT like test where teachers get removed from the testing site during the test taking period.

I believe good teachers should be rewarded and bad teachers should be fired. Good teachers should be making >$100k. I just find it funny that the union was against the idea of merit pay (good teachers making good $ and bad teachers being fired).

One other point the movie brought up is the lack of choice. You're stuck w/ the schools in your neighborhood. So, if you're poor, you have little to no chance to give your kid(s) a great education if the local school is failing. The great school systems in some of the European country have the money follow the student and leave it up to the parents to decide which school they want to put their kids into. This forces schools to compete for that $.

Another good point I got from the movie is that we're not getting our money's worth in the current public school system. On average, public school in SD is spending between $9k-$10k/student. I'm in the process to looking at private schools and most preschool-elementary school charge around $6k-$9k/year (with schools like La Jolla Country day being the exception). A lot of the private schools I toured pride themselves on the fact that kids at 5 can do addition/subtraction and by the time they're 6, they can do multiplication/division. In another thread, someone mentioned that in a PQ elementary school, their 1st grade child first few days' home work was to count 1-3. That really shocked me when I heard that, because my son is only 2 and he can count 1-10 in 5 different languages and know his ABC.

Submitted by njtosd on March 31, 2011 - 2:26am.

AN wrote:
Interesting article. I can totally see teachers trying to cheat to get a bonus. But that to me is not a knock on the standardize test as much as some teachers/people willing to do anything for a few grand. A simple solution would be to have a SAT like test where teachers get removed from the testing site during the test taking period.

Another way to do it is using statistics, as described in "Freakonomics" where cheating was proven (and teachers successfully fired) by looking at the rate of correct answers at the end of the test. One way teachers cheat is to fill in correct answers at the end of test for kids who didn't finish - so the rate of correct answers on those last questions, when compared to the rest of the test, can prove that someone tampered. The authors of that book also seem to think the DC teachers are possibly cheating:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/03/30/h...

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 31, 2011 - 6:50am.

I cried at the end of the movie at the boy w the Polaroid of his dad by his bed.

Submitted by UCGal on March 31, 2011 - 7:53am.

I thought the movie did a good job illuminating some of the PROBLEMS in education but failed, big time, on outlining the solutions.

If you watch the movie you'd end up thinking that all charter schools are better than traditional public schools. That charter schools are the answer to it all.

Looking at San Diego Unified (biggest district in the county) only one charter school stands out as outstanding - Preuss. To get into Preuss you have to be a kid from a single family household. So it's not open to all kids to apply. The other charter schools in SDUSD are in the middle of the pack by almost any standard... api scores, graduation rates, kids getting into college.

Submitted by an on March 31, 2011 - 9:01am.

I totally agree with you UCGal. I think the movie fail at the solution part as well. I personally don't think charter is the only or even best solution either. I don't know if there'seven a silver bullet that will fix all of the problems. But we definitely need to inject competition into the teaching profession. We need to reward great teachers much more and fire bad teachers.

Submitted by CBad on March 31, 2011 - 11:04am.

UCGal wrote:
I thought the movie did a good job illuminating some of the PROBLEMS in education but failed, big time, on outlining the solutions.

Agreed. Has anyone seen Race to Nowhere? It's playing now typically at schools and libraries if you are interested. But I had the same feeling after seeing it; all problems.

Submitted by Ren on March 31, 2011 - 11:37am.

AN wrote:
...because my son is only 2 and he can count 1-10 in 5 different languages and know his ABC.

My boy is 3, and he can fetch me a beer, tell me how many are left, then hand me the remote. All with great enthusiasm, fueled by Lucky Charms. Real-world application of important skills.

This is the point where fatherhood becomes worth it.

Submitted by UCGal on March 31, 2011 - 11:39am.

Ren wrote:
AN wrote:
...because my son is only 2 and he can count 1-10 in 5 different languages and know his ABC.

My boy is 3, and he can fetch me a beer, tell me how many are left, then hand me the remote. All with great enthusiasm, fueled by Lucky Charms. Real-world application of important skills.

This is the point where fatherhood becomes worth it.


AWESOME! Seriously!

Submitted by Zeitgeist on March 31, 2011 - 11:54am.

The child is a genius! Put him in private school where he will be taught to his level, not the lowest common denominator. The problem= the unions!

Submitted by Ren on March 31, 2011 - 12:22pm.

UCGal wrote:
AWESOME! Seriously!

I know! :-) But really, they are just sponges at this age, and it should be criminal for parents to not take advantage of it. At age 2 his attention span was far too short to get him to grasp the difference between left and right, but yesterday I spent a few minutes showing him, and he remembered it hours later. I don't think he's some kind of hypergenius, it just takes a little repetition, maybe more than some parents have the patience for.

Submitted by briansd1 on March 31, 2011 - 12:49pm.

AN wrote:
Interesting article. I can totally see teachers trying to cheat to get a bonus. But that to me is not a knock on the standardize test as much as some teachers/people willing to do anything for a few grand.

Just like in the mortgage business, incentives matter. Mortgage brokers would falsify loan applications to get the loans funded. And borrower would lie to buy houses so they can flip.

You need to compete with your peers and will do anything to make it work.

I have a friend who's a professor at National University of Singapore (got PhD at UCSD). He tells me that his American exchange students are slackers compared to local students. But he will grade them generously 1) to keep the exchange students coming back, 2) to keep the grades high. There's an unspoken policy at NUS to compete with top American universities. So they have to be conscious of the grades of their students being up to par in international rankings.

Submitted by SK in CV on March 31, 2011 - 2:01pm.

Ren wrote:

My boy is 3, and he can fetch me a beer, tell me how many are left, then hand me the remote. All with great enthusiasm, fueled by Lucky Charms. Real-world application of important skills.

This is the point where fatherhood becomes worth it.

Got a funny story that's kinda related. A few years ago I was walking my main dog on the beach, and an early 20's surfer dude came up and asked me what kind of dog I had. I told him the dog was an Akita. (he is dumb, but impressive looking. the dog, not the surfer.) Surfer asked me what he was bred for. I told him the breed was developed in Japan to hunt bear. "Hunt beer!? Whoa I gotta get me one!" he exclaimed. I didn't respond. And then he asked if I had to train him to do that. Just a little, i told him. When he was a puppy, all he would do is bring me Sapporo, but now all i have to do is tell him any brand I want and he'll run down to the basement and get it. Surfer boy looked at me quizzically and asked, almost piglike..."Seriously dude? You gotta basement?"

Submitted by an on March 31, 2011 - 2:09pm.

Ren wrote:

My boy is 3, and he can fetch me a beer, tell me how many are left, then hand me the remote. All with great enthusiasm, fueled by Lucky Charms. Real-world application of important skills.

This is the point where fatherhood becomes worth it.


Sweet Ren, thanks for giving me something to look forward to. 1 more year to go.

Submitted by briansd1 on March 31, 2011 - 2:45pm.

SK in CV wrote:

Got a funny story that's kinda related. A few years ago I was walking my main dog on the beach, and an early 20's surfer dude came up and asked me what kind of dog I had. I told him the dog was an Akita. (he is dumb, but impressive looking. the dog, not the surfer.) Surfer asked me what he was bred for. I told him the breed was developed in Japan to hunt bear. "Hunt beer!? Whoa I gotta get me one!" he exclaimed. I didn't respond. And then he asked if I had to train him to do that. Just a little, i told him. When he was a puppy, all he would do is bring me Sapporo, but now all i have to do is tell him any brand I want and he'll run down to the basement and get it. Surfer boy looked at me quizzically and asked, almost piglike..."Seriously dude? You gotta basement?"

After watching Neil Degrasse Tyson's show on dogs, if I ever get another dog, I'm determined to train my dog to fetch a whole herd of toys.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1778564622

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/dog-1000...

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