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Thread: Elect Principals

  1. #1
    antonia Guest

    Elect Principals

    O.K., here's an idea for the education chopping block. I don't know if it's ever been discussed before (or done anywhere). Elect principals from the body of teachers working at a given school. Have a set number of terms they can serve for a set number of years per term, like representatives. Voters would be comprised of teachers at the school, parents, and students, or some selection and combination of the three groups. Following the principal's term/s, they would return to their regular classroom job, teaching. Teachers about to retire, perhaps not eligible (since they wouldn't have to experience the fruits of their work upon returning to the classroom).

    Also consider rotating the job of principal, where each teacher at the school just goes in for X number of years, then returns to the classroom, and the next one in line gets their turn.

    Discuss.
    Last edited by antonia; 05-04-2009 at 06:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    I've seen policies that advocate running schools as a workers cooperative, with teachers electing the management. There seem to me to be too many conflicts of interest with regard to allowing parents or students to choose, and neither has much idea what the job entails. School management and leadership is a different skillset (at least on the current model) from being an effective teacher. A school lives or dies on the strength of its leadership, and actually an election via an uninformed electorate is a terrible way to choose it.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

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    My 2 cents

    Quote Originally Posted by antonia View Post
    O.K., here's an idea for the education chopping block. I don't know if it's ever been discussed before (or done anywhere). Elect principals from the body of teachers working at a given school.
    We elect school boards and look where that has gotten us.

    This is an honest question...

    What is the opposition to set standards? I am aware of the argument that it puts teachers in the position of teaching toward test scores, but I don't see that as a great negative.

    If the standards are comprehensive and do not vary from district to district I don't see the harm.

    I don't mean to go off topic, however I am assuming that the question about electing school officials is put forth in an effort to improve the education system. My direct response to that question is that elections tend to politicize the system, whereas performance based assessments would have a greater effect on the results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamroller View Post
    We elect school boards and look where that has gotten us.

    This is an honest question...

    What is the opposition to set standards? I am aware of the argument that it puts teachers in the position of teaching toward test scores, but I don't see that as a great negative.

    If the standards are comprehensive and do not vary from district to district I don't see the harm.

    I don't mean to go off topic, however I am assuming that the question about electing school officials is put forth in an effort to improve the education system. My direct response to that question is that elections tend to politicize the system, whereas performance based assessments would have a greater effect on the results.
    Teaching toward test scores *is* a great negative. It skews the curriculum in favour of the subjects being tested, and more time is spent preparing for tests that should be spent on actual education. This year, with the abolition of KS3 tests in the UK, I can spend time teaching my year 9 class rather than going through past papers. This situation is even more prevalent in KS2, with 10 and 11 year olds being placed under enormous pressure to do well because the school is judged by their results in national tests. So they spend around half of curriculum time in their final year at primary school preparing for the end of key stage tests. It's madness. People who think you raise standards by testing more think that you can fatten a pig by weighing it more often. All that happens is that the pig is given loads of water before being weighed.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

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    OK, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    It skews the curriculum in favour of the subjects being tested, and more time is spent preparing for tests that should be spent on actual education.
    If you are preparing a child for a test, are you not educating them? I truly do not mean to be antagonistic in this subject. It just seems to me that students and teachers view education from completely different perspectives. While an adult has a broader viewpoint of the entire education process, I believe most students are just trying to survive the process from one test to another. Then one day a light bulb flashes above thier head and they discover that they have learned something.

    My personal observations of students K thru 12, is that they are there because their parents tell them that is where they are supposed to be. Completing thier schoolwork is just something they are obligated to do. Doing it "well" is icing on the cake.

    Out of a thousand High School students, how many of them wake up in the morning filled with anticipation in what new and exciting things they might learn today? I would suggest perhaps three. The others have other agenda's to fill, and learning is a by-product of the events of the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    This year, with the abolition of KS3 tests in the UK, I can spend time teaching my year 9 class rather than going through past papers.
    By going through "past papers" do you mean "review". Isn't that part of the education process? How can you move forward if the path just taken has been forgotten or improperly taught?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    People who think you raise standards by testing more think that you can fatten a pig by weighing it more often. All that happens is that the pig is given loads of water before being weighed.
    Do we raise standards by testing more often, or do we "test" to ensure the standards are being met?

    In your analogy of "loading up the pig with water before weighing" do you mean that students are being prepped and filling thier short-term memories with just enough information to pass the upcoming test?
    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamroller View Post
    If you are preparing a child for a test, are you not educating them? I truly do not mean to be antagonistic in this subject. It just seems to me that students and teachers view education from completely different perspectives. While an adult has a broader viewpoint of the entire education process, I believe most students are just trying to survive the process from one test to another. Then one day a light bulb flashes above thier head and they discover that they have learned something.

    My personal observations of students K thru 12, is that they are there because their parents tell them that is where they are supposed to be. Completing thier schoolwork is just something they are obligated to do. Doing it "well" is icing on the cake.

    Out of a thousand High School students, how many of them wake up in the morning filled with anticipation in what new and exciting things they might learn today? I would suggest perhaps three. The others have other agenda's to fill, and learning is a by-product of the events of the day.



    By going through "past papers" do you mean "review". Isn't that part of the education process? How can you move forward if the path just taken has been forgotten or improperly taught?



    Do we raise standards by testing more often, or do we "test" to ensure the standards are being met?

    In your analogy of "loading up the pig with water before weighing" do you mean that students are being prepped and filling thier short-term memories with just enough information to pass the upcoming test?
    The problem is that no examination is adequate to assess capability in most school subjects. It is, by necessity, a contrived and abstracted situation that tests how good a student is at a test. Certainly a well educated student will score well on a related test, but another student with lower real attainment can be coached to pass the test at the same level. When I'm talking about past papers I'm talking about just that - exams that were set in previous years, going through exam technique and specific routines for completing exam questions. This is a long way from teaching the subject. Certainly cramming is part of the problem, we give the appearance that students meet the standards of the tests. We have constant complaints in the UK that students achieving grade C at GCSE maths (a national benchmark considered essential by most employers) can't add up/do perecentages/understand proportions etc., and the reason they can't is precisely because that grade is used as a national benchmark, so it is in the interests of teachers and students to have that grade, even if the aptitude of the student does not warrant it, as both student and teacher will be judged by it.

    You're right that students don't often think of the bigger picture, but I'm not suggesting they should. In fact, I'd be quite happy with them not thinking about the next test either, just "how do I solve the problem in front of me today" (I'm a maths teacher) and "how does this connect with the problem I solved last week".
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    The problem is that no examination is adequate to assess capability in most school subjects. It is, by necessity, a contrived and abstracted situation that tests how good a student is at a test. Certainly a well educated student will score well on a related test, but another student with lower real attainment can be coached to pass the test at the same level. When I'm talking about past papers I'm talking about just that - exams that were set in previous years, going through exam technique and specific routines for completing exam questions. This is a long way from teaching the subject. Certainly cramming is part of the problem, we give the appearance that students meet the standards of the tests. We have constant complaints in the UK that students achieving grade C at GCSE maths (a national benchmark considered essential by most employers) can't add up/do perecentages/understand proportions etc., and the reason they can't is precisely because that grade is used as a national benchmark, so it is in the interests of teachers and students to have that grade, even if the aptitude of the student does not warrant it, as both student and teacher will be judged by it.
    At first I was wondering how a student could be "coached" into passing a test. Then I read the part about "exam technique" again and a clearer picture is coming into focus for me.

    I agree that training a child to pass a test, based on "how" the test questions may be phrased, or some other "technique" is a horrible practice. Isn't that within the teachers discretion as to whether or not He/She will teach that way?


    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    You're right that students don't often think of the bigger picture, but I'm not suggesting they should. In fact, I'd be quite happy with them not thinking about the next test either, just "how do I solve the problem in front of me today" (I'm a maths teacher) and "how does this connect with the problem I solved last week".
    Total Agreement.

    The result of a K thru 12 education should be a person prepared to enter adulthood knowing "how" to think through any situtation they may face in this stage in their life.

    The problem as I see it, is that the US education system is too involved in graduating students who have been told "what" to think instead of "how" to think.

    After a generation of this type of education we are really a handicapped society. It's hard enough to get the general population to care about the policies of the day, let alone understand them.

    I still don't see the harm in setting a standard amount of information a child must know before progressing to the next grade and holding teachers accountable for that level.

    I can't site it right now but I can find it if you want me too. When Harvard was in it's infancy the requirements to get in were almost the same as the requirements for a Bachelors Degree is today. We demand way too little from both our students and our teachers today and we are starting to see the fruits of our laziness as each day goes by.

    I don't mean this as an offence toward teachers, I just think it's what we have allowed to happen.
    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
    Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamroller View Post
    At first I was wondering how a student could be "coached" into passing a test. Then I read the part about "exam technique" again and a clearer picture is coming into focus for me.

    I agree that training a child to pass a test, based on "how" the test questions may be phrased, or some other "technique" is a horrible practice. Isn't that within the teachers discretion as to whether or not He/She will teach that way?
    In principal, yes. In practice, those techniques get students through exams at a higher grade than they would otherwise do, and if we get to results day and our pass rate at grade C is 10% lower than it "should" be because we taught the subject rather than the test (even if our students are more competent because of it) then we will face the ire of parents, students, the school management and ultimately Ofsted, and in a school whose results are not good in the first place that may result in closure. The stark choice facing teachers is to teach well and put the subject first, and risk undermining the job chances of their students, or churn out passes for students who still use their fingers to count.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    In principal, yes. In practice, those techniques get students through exams at a higher grade than they would otherwise do, and if we get to results day and our pass rate at grade C is 10% lower than it "should" be because we taught the subject rather than the test (even if our students are more competent because of it) then we will face the ire of parents, students, the school management and ultimately Ofsted, and in a school whose results are not good in the first place that may result in closure. The stark choice facing teachers is to teach well and put the subject first, and risk undermining the job chances of their students, or churn out passes for students who still use their fingers to count.
    At what point is the failure then, taking place? The teacher is really not teaching well, or the tests are ill conceived.

    I'm going to assume it is the tests. That assumption being made, I can easily take the next leap in the assumption that the changing the tests would be more difficult than stealing the crown jewels.

    Am I onto it now?
    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
    Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamroller View Post
    At what point is the failure then, taking place? The teacher is really not teaching well, or the tests are ill conceived.

    I'm going to assume it is the tests. That assumption being made, I can easily take the next leap in the assumption that the changing the tests would be more difficult than stealing the crown jewels.

    Am I onto it now?
    Almost, the problem is that it's very hard (if not impossible) to set a test that accurately tests the skills employers are after and that is not susceptible to coaching. The new functional skills tests being developed for the English QCA are an attempt to do this, but the signs so far are not promising.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    Almost, the problem is that it's very hard (if not impossible) to set a test that accurately tests the skills employers are after and that is not susceptible to coaching. The new functional skills tests being developed for the English QCA are an attempt to do this, but the signs so far are not promising.
    OK, I have a better informed idea of "standards" teaching from our conversation and I thank you for the time you've spent on it. The lack of input from other parties is somewhat telling that we are not following "debate" format. But that's ok it was well worth it to me.

    You've probably already noticed that I am a little antagonistic toward the public school system.

    Because of it's short comings my wife and I, (my wife actually), homeschool our 15, 13, and 10 year old. Without studying "exam techniques" they take the same exams as thier peers, at a pretty hefty personal expense. So far they are even, if not 1 to 2 years ahead.(this is not saying much)

    Our emphasis is to teach them "how" to think rather than "what" to think as we discussed in an earlier post. And yes, there is a slant toward Christian thought, although I do pride myself on playing "devil's advocate" with them and making them substantiate their beliefs.

    I tell you all of this, not to prove a point, but you have revealed a bit of yourself in these posts and I felt you deserved the same.
    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
    Thomas Jefferson

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    Hi Dear,

    Thanks for posting here. I really need this for such a long time. But your some tips related to class rooms never match to teaching Because teaching is different matters comparison than class rooms.

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