Ask Teachers One Question And…

Alright, I admit it.  Asking Delaware teachers if they would consider taking a cut in their benefits and pensions probably wasn’t the smartest move in the book, but many of you came out in droves to respond.  Granted, no administrators, principals, or superintendents replied.  The article went over like a resounding thud.  But I challenge every single teacher in the state: if not benefits or pension, what do you view as wasted money in our schools?  And please don’t say “nothing”.  We spend a billion dollars on education in Delaware and that’s just from the state.  We also get federal money and local funds from school taxes.  While other states may laugh and say “that’s it?”, we are a small state with less than a million people and about 133,000 kids in public education.  Since this could be a hot topic with certain folks, feel free to post anonymously on this!

Since I just got home from work and grocery shopping and I’m dead to the world now, just a few updates on recent stuff.  They must have a huge cricket crisis going on in the Appoquinimink School District, because that’s all I’ve heard from them since I dropped the special education funding bomb on them last week.  I did have an interesting comment on the “Unsustainable” article that had me wracking my brain all day.  Delaware school districts and charters might be thinking I’ve slowed down on them and my target of the month is Appo.  Wrong!  I have a ton of articles that will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.  One is about an interesting superintendent situation going on in one of our school districts.  That one led to a VERY interesting board meeting last month.  Dr. Mark Holodick is winning the “who will be the next Secretary of Education in Delaware poll”, followed by Susan Bunting.  Every one seems to be playing pin the tail on the auditor in the past week and everyone wants to know when Tom Wagner is actually going to, you know, do some audits.  Kenny Rivera is now the Vice-President of the Red Clay Board of Education and Michael Piccio was voted in as the President.  The State Board is having their monthly snooze fest on Thursday.  Expect to hear some type of hip-hop hooray about the latest Smarter Balanced Assessment results but not the actual final scores cause they aren’t done yet.  Both the Christina and Red Clay Boards of Education passed resolutions to suspend the WEIC timeline which will be echoed by WEIC at a meeting on July 26th.  On Wednesday, WEIC will be honored by the Progressive Democrats of Delaware as their Education Heroes of the Year.  So Elizabeth Lockman gets a two-peat!  Jack Markell hasn’t signed the teacher evaluation bill yet, House Bill 399.  I guess he was too busy not filing to run for Congress (okay, I never said I bat home runs every time)!  Delaware Military Academy wants to build a sports dome, but not with any funding from the state.  They said it will all be from private donations.  Apparently Chief of Instruction Michael Watson at the Delaware DOE has been “chosen” to be on John Carney’s “transition team”.  How very presumptuous of you Mr. Carney.  Today is State Rep. Trey Paradee’s birthday so wish him a Happy Birthday on Facebook.  I did hear back from EFIC about their epic fail, which is the Education Funding Improvement Committee’s final report.  Apparently “their work isn’t done yet” after having a due date of March 31st which was extended until June 30th.  Publius disappeared from Kilroy’s Delaware about a month ago and hasn’t been seen since.  He said something about the sign is in the yard.  It makes me very curious why he would feel he shouldn’t comment “anonymously” on a blog anymore.  Especially in light of a recent vacancy in Dover (totally speculating on this one folks).  Unless…

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10 thoughts on “Ask Teachers One Question And…

  1. Kevin, I feel too much money is being spent on positions in central offices, underfunded, or not funded at all, government mandated programs, and testing. Also, programs and professional development that teach me how to teach. Athletics seem to have too much emphasis and money put into them.

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  2. Some of the places where I see money wasted:
    1. We should consider consolidating districts.
    2. There are things I could get a lot cheaper for my classroom at the local Walmart (crayons, composition books, notebook paper, etc.) than through the state bid list (or whatever it is called). I asked about purchasing them myself and getting reimbursed and was given a resounding NO.
    3. DDOE is too big
    4. State and federal mandates.
    5. Our state testing (I don’t think we are getting a “bang” for our buck.
    6. Some districts seem to have a lot of administrators.
    I am sure there is more, but this is all I can think of at the moment. I also realize that some of them don’t seem to be that big of a deal, but every penny counts!

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  3. 1. hopscotching from one worthless computer based instructional tool to another for RtI, just because of its promise of data- for data’s sake, not the children’s. Left alone I KNOW that I could render more appropriate instruction and develop the personal relationships that have been proven to enhance learning. these contracts are costly, and the promised benefits are not there.
    2. Invented positions- many with no job description- for former principals- who, for some reason are pulled from schools. no benefit to students.
    3. instructional coaches- no benefit to students.
    4. top district positions NOT filled with the best & brightest- who are not making good decisions- no benefit to students. ( see #1)
    5. WAY too much fat at DEDoE.
    6. $$$$ diverted to charter schools.
    7. $$$$ diverted to magnet school.
    8. AVID- how much is spent on training? Good teaching is good teaching.
    9. Chinese immersion. how much is this costing?
    10. technology designated for testing. no benefit to students.
    11. Consultants. no benefit to students.

    I’m just a little cog in a huge machine, so large that I am not aware of all its parts. I do know that much of our per pupil spending is not being spent IN classrooms, ON students.

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  4. Ok, if this a game of asking teachers what question is the most prevalent on their mind, (which seems to be a trend developing in this comment thread) .. here is mine….

    What ever happened to logic? Why does common sense not work in arguments anymore?

    (Wow. Just realized the answer to my own question…)

    (Crap! I was going to leave it hanging there but if I did, what’s the point…

    The true answer (which I just now answered to myself) is that “sense” isn’t common anymore… Our experiences are so individualistic today, enhanced through the Internet… so much so that we could live in the same town, even work in the same cubicle, and our everyday perception of how the world works would be completely individualized, built from the ground up on completely different formulas. And not only that, but they are individualized through an intensity mankind has never experienced before.

    If you for example are a “Lord of the Rings”‘ fan, you can immerse yourself in a world where you are reinforced by enough to make you think that “Lord of the Rings”‘ mythology is behind what is running the world.. because that vision makes sense to you and your experience.

    Or if you are a Baltimore Orioles fan you can immersed yourself in Oriole minutia so deep, that you experience a catharsis every day and to your perspective the whole world revolves around what takes place on that diamond..

    Or you can be involved in education… or business… and in your world there is no realization that there can be any other dimension other than the one you experience…

    Lets explore that through an example… In simpler times, you and everyone in your town, shared the same 3 or 4 television stations. shared the same 2 or 3 newspapers and the same 6 or 7 local radio stations and that was all the differences you were allowed. If you went to the movies in the same week, you all saw the same movie.

    So if during those times, you developed an intense crush on Chachi from the television show “Happy Days” …. as you went through life the next day, it didn’t take much to remind you of how weird you were… Old people, Grocery store clerks, teachers, classmates, all who had a different opinion than you, quickly let you know that you were sort of living in the weird fantasy world of a brief moment….

    Today we’ve accepted that people are plugged into different systems than us. The assumption being that everyone is listening to something different on their own earbuds…

    Which means that unless your goal is to specialize in Non-Specialization, or to broaden your width, you have a deaf ear to all noise outside your input model..

    Meaning that today, the world of business is completely unable to process what teachers are saying… Blah, blah, blah. Just like if you played Kanye West at me, I would never absorb any of the lyrics.

    And there you have it… common sense is not common anymore because we have no common experience to share making how we interpret things completely isolated from those interpreting the same event around us….

    Which boils down to: if you are going to run your administration on a business model, you are going to royally fvck it up because the rest of the world doesn’t think that way…

    To avoid this, you should have included all voices, should have broaden the experience (not limit it) by reaching out to all parties and should have struggled to balance one idea against another…. Then, and only then, you would have avoided the gaping potholes your road had to offer… some so big they swallowed up your administration’s legacy.

    Which (if you follow the logic through to the end), makes bloggers the smartest people in the world, due to the breadth of viewpoints they are forced to cover prior to putting a single post.. and they put up multiple ones…. over and over and over again…

    Who else in society does that these days? Certainly not the people who run it…

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