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May 30, 2009

Comments

Jesse Menn

Full disclosure: I'm probably going to end up teaching in the K-14 system someday.

In all honesty, I think at this point the only way to "fix" the K-12 or K-14 (maybe? I don't know, El Camino didn't give me a fair sample of community colleges) is to burn the entire thing to the ground and build it back up from scratch. It's the teachers, they're generally awful, but it's also the administration and the curriculum. Most of the teachers that teach K-8 are horribly incompetent in terms of their subject matter, and really, 9-12 isn't that much better.

Grammar and English education needs to be ramped up a bit so that graduating high school students may have actually read a book or two, and, dare I say, compose a couple of coherent sentences. Math could involve actually proving things instead of making kids memorize formula after formula after formula. The whole system needs to move from being a daycare to being an actual school. Provide incentives in terms of actual pay for teachers that actually know the subject they're teaching and start weeding out the ones who can't tell a preposition from a quadratic equation.

Now that I think about it, most of the people I had at El Camino Community College were grossly incompetent as well.

Jeffrey McMahon

Jesse,

As you know, my wife teaches at PVIS and my impression is the teachers are generally good. They want to be there. That helps.

Angelo

It depends on what part of the country as to how well teachers are paid. I can't comment about California since I don't know. But in places like Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the teachers unions are so strong, teachers are paid way more than an average family income (and those poor familes are paying for the teachers with school taxes). Example: A few years ago, the median family income in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania was around 20,000, and teachers went on strike to get paid over $70,000, which raised taxes on the poor fools making 19K a year. The public school teachers in that area are average at best---no match for old nuns who taught at Catholic schools in the 1960's. In other areas (such as the South), teachers are paid a salary that is barely a living wage---in the teens---and they are dedicated, working crazy hours to try to push kids to be better. It's a case-by-case analysis. But for full disclosure, I live in the Washington, DC area. DC public schools spend more per student than anywhere else in the U.S. last I heard----a crazy amount per student, per year (more than private schools). The performance is dismal. This isn't really an indictment of the teachers, it shows that education begins in the home, with parents who read to their kids and put an emphasis on learning.

Jeffrey McMahon

Angelo, I agree with your points. Well said.

Jesse Menn

Jeff: Yeah, I know she teaches in the PV system. I went to PVIS for my 6-8 and had teachers there that seemed to know what they were talking about. I also had some that should never have been allowed to set foot on a campus. Pretty much the same deal when I was in high school.

From what I understand the teachers are put in a tough position. They're effectively told this is what to teach and how to teach it and effectiveness is never questioned. Take trigonometry as an example. You can teach that entire class in roughly 3 weeks -- there's no reason it needs to take a full semester.

It's not that I think all the teachers in the US are awful, but like any other profession, you have people who are good and people who are bad.

Jeffrey McMahon

A lot of dead weight is safely nestled in school. Shame.

Gary

I think John's problem is that he is a college dropout and feels guilty about it. He is also one of the biggest hipocrites on radio. He talks about teachers making $68,000/year and getting 9 months off. He also rants about how that is more than anywhere else in the country, yet never takes into account the cost of living. He makes enough money to live in Brentwood and had a nanny for his kids. The longest he ever works is 4 hours and he gets breaks every 5-15 minutes.

Everyday all he does is pick up the LA Times and if the article agrees with what he is covering he quotes it, if it doesn't he knocks the reporter and talks about how incompetent they are.

Teachers should start calling his advertisers and complain about their advertising on his show. They should also start calling him and asking him how much he makes as a 4 hours per day college dropout.

As for Ken, he is like Hillary Clinton, he latched onto the right guy. If he weren't for John, Ken wouldn't be in talk radio.

Jeffrey McMahon

And yet they're so popular. They're like bullies holding court in the playground with a rapt audience.

Angelo

Gary: I've never even heard this guy as I live near DC. But regarding teachers' salaries (with a tip of the hat to Jeff's wife), some are grossly underpaid and some would be overpaid at 15K a year, working 9 months and having Summers off. But here is the real answer to your post: A radio or TV personality making big money for working a few hours a day is irrelavant. Private enterprise pays them---they are worth whatever the market says they are worth. Taxpayers pay for public school teachers---thousands of them. Years ago, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, I also heard union advocates say that a teacher makes $60,000 while a heart surgeon makes a million---and they're both professionals. Fact is, Wilkes-Barre can afford to pay their 3 or 4 heart surgeons that much (and again, they're paid by a hospital system and insurance companies, not taxpayers). But Wilkes-Barre has a hard time paying hundreds of teachers their salaries, considering that most of the population there is economically challenged.

kr

junior (9) just finished 3rd grade at a $12K a year private school here in TN. the costs kill us, but he seems to be doing well, reading at a 10.2 level supposedly. this year he had 3 teachers teaching 20 kids... what's going to suck is when he gets to 6th grade and has to go to public school because the private school cost jumps to about $18k...

Jeffrey McMahon

At sixth or seventh grade, girls, not boys, often begin to fall academically unless they're involved in sports. Too much boy interest seems to be the culprit.

Brian of Pomona

Shame on every teacher and union thug. I do listen to the irrational teacher hater, but to me, john seems too rational. He just hates teachers. What is so hard to understand. Teachers ask for more and more money, and show less and less results. Wake up,join the real world. WE ARE IN A DEPRESSION. Stop asking for more and more money.Do you realize the cost of a state intuition will be 30% higher by next year. Thats the way we give back to the citizens of california. Glad you are looking out for the future leaders of our economy here in cali. The way you want and want, and DO NOT PRODUCE FOR THE MONEY THAT IS STOLEN BY YOUR UNION LEADERS IS SHAMEFUL. You all should be paid for the graduates you produce. Bottom Line, no other way. Wake up every one of you....

Jeffrey McMahon

What is so rational about "just hating teachers"? And speaking of rational, where is it in the "every teacher and union thugs" language?

Teaching in an unruly classroom in which the administration doesn't give the teachers support, in which the parents are often indifferent and in which violence often breaks out can be brutal and some teachers, not I, deserve combat pay.

Gary

Angelo:
The thing that people don't realize is that John and Ken make their money off of advertisers. So when they get a pay raise, the cost of advertising goes up, which means the cost of products goes up. So to me, a college dropout who sits around and complains about how overpaid everyone else is, and gets more breaks than anyone else I know should not be driving up the cost of my food.

I think John and Ken are the two biggest (although entertaining) losers on radio. Think about what they have done over the years. The "Fire Dryer" campaing was a flop, the Recall Davis, elect Arnold is one of the worst things this state has ever done, and they took credit for it. I remember John saying that Arnold won by a million votes and that was the size of their listening audience. They pushed to pass the four propositions in 05, they all lost. They tried to recall Adams, they lost, the only thing that they have been successful in was the four props last May which were DOA from day one. So using John's own standards, he is very unsuccessful and should be paid less than a teacher.

Michele Turan

I am a teacher for LAUSD and I couldn't agree more with the writer of this blog. John Kobylt is a bombastic and pretentious bully who has no clue about what teacher's truly earn or what our jobs entail.
He is probably grossly overpaid himself and should be forced to eat some humble pie!!

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