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Topic review - In what other profession...
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  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Tuesday continued his spirited defense of public defined benefit pension plans, chastising “anti-pension advocates” and reaffirming opposition to a proposal for a defined contribution option in the $140.3 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund.

“Anti-pension advocates have commandeered the debate and co-opted the media to such an extent that many in the public now accept the premise that state pension plans are bankrupting states and localities and hurting middle-class taxpayers,” Mr. DiNapoli said at the National Institute of Retirement Security's retirement policy conference in Washington.

“I not only find those broad-stroke mischaracterizations inaccurate, but also harmful to a thoughtful debate,” said Mr. DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the Albany, N.Y.-based pension fund.

Mr. DiNapoli repeated his objection to a recommendation by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that newly hired public employees be given the option of choosing a 401(k) plan instead of being automatically enrolled a defined benefit plan.

Mr. Cuomo proposed creating a new category for the state pension fund that requires a higher retirement age, higher participant contributions and a lower multiplier for calculating DB-plan payments, as well as the 401(k) option.

“I've made no secret of the fact that I think that moving from a defined benefit plan to a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan is a bad idea,” Mr. DiNapoli “The bottom line is, scrapping defined benefit public pensions for 401(k)s would undermine retirement security for even more Americans, and add even more uncertainty to our economy.”

Mr. DiNapoli argued that 401(k) plans “have proven to be woefully inadequate for those who rely on them for their primary retirement income. That's because 401(k)s were never intended to take the place of pensions. They were designed to be savings vehicles to supplement pensions and Social Security income.”

He cited previous NIRS research as showing that the cost of DB plans is less than that of DC plans, and he added that public pension funds can help stabilize a state's economy. “In part because they receive secure state pensions, 77% of New York retirees continue to live in New York State,” he said.
Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:02 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:
Guest wrote:



LOL you use LI sources to tout LI excellence. You compare a region to States. This report is as full of "Bouquet of Roses" as you are.


I've seen your facts they are full of "Bouquet of Roses" as you are!! We need to keep our eye on the real facts not the facts that the haters support. The real facts are I'm sure somewhere in the middle but we will never get there in this environment.
Post Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:09 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:



LOL you use LI sources to tout LI excellence. You compare a region to States. This report is as full of "Bouquet of Roses" as you are.
Post Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:11 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Lets keep our eyes on the facts.

https://www2.esboces.org/doc/NSSBA.1.31.12--final2.pdf
Post Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:26 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
March 3, 2012
Confessions of a ‘Bad’ Teacher
By WILLIAM JOHNSON

I AM a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers. What’s more, these are high school students, so their disabilities are compounded by raging hormones and social pressure.

As you might imagine, my job can be extremely difficult. Beyond the challenges posed by my students, budget cuts and changes to special-education policy have increased my workload drastically even over just the past 18 months. While my class sizes have grown, support staff members have been laid off. Students with increasingly severe disabilities are being pushed into more mainstream classrooms like mine, where they receive less individual attention and struggle to adapt to a curriculum driven by state-designed high-stakes tests.

On top of all that, I’m a bad teacher. That’s not my opinion; it’s how I’m labeled by the city’s Education Department. Last June, my principal at the time rated my teaching “unsatisfactory,” checking off a few boxes on an evaluation sheet that placed my career in limbo. That same year, my school received an “A” rating. I was a bad teacher at a good school. It was pretty humiliating.

Like most teachers, I’m good some days, bad others. The same goes for my students. Last May, my assistant principal at the time observed me teaching in our school’s “self-contained” classroom. A self-contained room is a separate classroom for students with extremely severe learning disabilities. In that room, I taught a writing class for students ages 14 to 17, whose reading levels ranged from third through seventh grades.

When the assistant principal walked in, one of these students, a freshman girl classified with an emotional disturbance, began cursing. When the assistant principal ignored her, she started cursing at me. Then she began lobbing pencils across the room. Was this because I was a bad teacher? I don’t know.

I know that after she began throwing things, I sent her to the dean’s office. I know that a few days later, I received notice that my lesson had been rated unsatisfactory because, among other things, I had sent this student to the dean instead of following our school’s “guided discipline” procedure.

I was confused. Earlier last year, this same assistant principal observed me and instructed me to prioritize improving my “assertive voice” in the classroom. But about a month later, my principal observed me and told me to focus entirely on lesson planning, since she had no concerns about my classroom management. A few weeks earlier, she had written on my behalf for a citywide award for “classroom excellence.” Was I really a bad teacher?

In my three years with the city schools, I’ve seen a teacher with 10 years of experience become convinced, after just a few observations, that he was a terrible teacher. A few months later, he quit teaching altogether. I collaborated with another teacher who sought psychiatric care for insomnia after a particularly intense round of observations. I myself transferred to a new school after being rated “unsatisfactory.”

Behind all of this is the reality that teachers care a great deal about our work. At the school where I work today, my “bad” teaching has mostly been very successful. Even so, I leave work most days replaying lessons in my mind, wishing I’d done something differently. This isn’t because my lessons are bad, but because I want to get better at my job.

In fact, I don’t just want to get better; like most teachers I know, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I have to be. Dozens and dozens of teenagers scrutinize my language, clothing and posture all day long, all week long. If I’m off my game, the students tell me. They comment on my taste in neckties, my facial hair, the quality of my lessons. All of us teachers are evaluated all day long, already. It’s one of the most exhausting aspects of our job.

Teaching was a high-pressure job long before No Child Left Behind and the current debates about teacher evaluation. These debates seem to rest on the assumption that, left to our own devices, we teachers would be happy to coast through the school year, let our skills atrophy and collect our pensions.

The truth is, teachers don’t need elected officials to motivate us. If our students are not learning, they let us know. They put their heads down or they pass notes. They raise their hands and ask for clarification. Sometimes, they just stare at us like zombies. Few things are more excruciating for a teacher than leading a class that’s not learning. Good administrators use the evaluation processes to support teachers and help them avoid those painful classroom moments — not to weed out the teachers who don’t produce good test scores or adhere to their pedagogical beliefs.

Worst of all, the more intense the pressure gets, the worse we teach. When I had administrators breathing down my neck, the students became a secondary concern. I simply did whatever my assistant principal asked me to do, even when I thought his ideas were crazy. In all honesty, my teaching probably became close to incoherent. One week, my assistant principal wanted me to focus on arranging the students’ desks to fit with class activities, so I moved the desks around every day, just to show that I was a good soldier. I was scared of losing my job, and my students suffered for it.

That said, given all the support in the world, even the best teacher can’t force his students to learn. Students aren’t simply passive vessels, waiting to absorb information from their teachers and regurgitate it through high-stakes assessments. They make choices about what they will and won’t learn. I know I did. When I was a teenager, I often stayed up way too late, talking with friends, listening to music or playing video games. Did this affect my performance on tests? Undoubtedly. Were my teachers responsible for these choices? No.

My best teachers, the ones I still think about today, exposed me to new and exciting ideas. They created classroom environments that welcomed discussion and intellectual risk-taking. Sometimes, these teachers’ lessons didn’t sink in until years after I’d left their classrooms. I’m thinking about Ms. Leonard, the English teacher who repeatedly instructed me to “write what you know,” a lesson I’ve only recently begun to understand. She wasn’t just teaching me about writing, by the way, but about being attentive to the details of my daily existence.

It wasn’t Ms. Leonard’s fault that 15-year-old me couldn’t process this lesson completely. She was planting seeds that wouldn’t bear fruit in the short term. That’s an important part of what we teachers do, and it’s the sort of thing that doesn’t show up on high-stakes tests.

How, then, should we measure students and teachers? In ninth grade, my students learn about the scientific method. They learn that in order to collect good data, scientists control for specific variables and test their impact on otherwise identical environments. If you give some students green fields, glossy textbooks and lots of attention, you can’t measure them against another group of students who lack all of these things. It’s bad science.

Until we provide equal educational resources to all students and teachers, no matter where they come from, we can’t say — with any scientific accuracy — how well or poorly they’re performing. Perhaps if we start the conversation there, things will start making a bit more sense.

William Johnson is a teacher at a public high school in Brooklyn
Post Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:20 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:
The margin of error was reported by the STATE. It is not "union propaganda." It is impossible to rank teachers in a standardized way because there are too may variables. Some teachers have 35 students, some have 21. Some have taught the students for a cycle ( a few weekss) and some have taught for a year. Some schools have block out scheduling, some have traditional; 40 minute periods. Some teachers teach alone, others have a TA, some have another teacher, some left for maternity after a certain date, and are held responsible for those students even though they no longer teach them. Some teachers deal with high student absenteeism, some have great attendance in their classes. Some school have effective AIS services, others have un trained wrestling coaches and gym teachers offering AIS services to the students that need the help the most. All of these, plus many more factors go into this. It is not as black and white as most would believe.


Thanks for an intelligent reply. I still have no idea what the 55% means. Margin of error in what exactly? Much of what you raise is valid for NYC but probably less valid for small school districts for intradistrict ranking. Scheduling and quality of program and AIS would be the same. If evaluating student advancement, absenteeism probably should be ignored if we assume a student is relatively constant year over year. Part year teachers should probably be excluded.

I don't disagree that there are issues to be solved but to do so is not impossible - especially if the unions help rather than hinder.
Post Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:05 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
The margin of error was reported by the STATE. It is not "union propaganda." It is impossible to rank teachers in a standardized way because there are too may variables. Some teachers have 35 students, some have 21. Some have taught the students for a cycle ( a few weekss) and some have taught for a year. Some schools have block out scheduling, some have traditional; 40 minute periods. Some teachers teach alone, others have a TA, some have another teacher, some left for maternity after a certain date, and are held responsible for those students even though they no longer teach them. Some teachers deal with high student absenteeism, some have great attendance in their classes. Some school have effective AIS services, others have un trained wrestling coaches and gym teachers offering AIS services to the students that need the help the most. All of these, plus many more factors go into this. It is not as black and white as most would believe.
Post Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:04 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:
Guest wrote:
Guest wrote:
and by the way Im not afraid of anything I do my job and so do my peers so bring on your evaluations and see what happens. This will not help education period.


I hope you are one of the quality teachers. I think there are definatley more good than bad, but how would weeding out the bad not be good for education? I would think that by weeding out the inferior teachers and holding the rest to the highest common standard instead of lowering the standard to keep the lesser qualified would be good for education or for any profession and any business.

If you truly feel that this is not so then please explain why you feel that way.

Don't just attack me now and say I have no idea what I am talking about as so often is the case on this board. Defend your position with some facts. If you can do that I am sure you will gain the respect of many people reading here, and maybe change some minds over to your point of view.


The value-added measures system which is now going to be in place for every teacher has huge flaws. The margin of error is up to 55%! How can that be considered a fair and equitable system?

Additionally, as teachers we have no control over student behavior and study methods outside of the classroom. We cannot control how or if they study or if there is any support coming from the home. We cannot control the thousands of outside influences that ultimately affect students when it is time to test, and yet we are going to be held responsible for those thousands of outside influences.

Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining student success is parental involvement, yet parents are not held accountable when their children fail. Instead of questioning the child or themselves, they blame the teacher. Why aren't parents then evaluated and threatened? Because it's not logical. I agree that as teacher we should be held to high standards but you will find that most teachers, and all quality teachers, hold themselves to higher standards and expect more out of their students than the basics, and when you look at it that way, you should agree that the attacks on teachers, and using flawed value-added measures to evaluate them, is not logical either.


I keep seeing margin of error is 55% in the union propaganda. That statement is meaningless without clearly defining it. What is 55%? 55% of what? Statistics is an advanced field that needs precise definitions. If the referred to method were used to rank 100 3rd grade teachers, what is the standard deviation of the ranked place for an individual teacher versus his "true' place? That would be the most meaningful number to me and I'm betting it is less than 8.
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:04 pm
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:
Guest wrote:
and by the way Im not afraid of anything I do my job and so do my peers so bring on your evaluations and see what happens. This will not help education period.


I hope you are one of the quality teachers. I think there are definatley more good than bad, but how would weeding out the bad not be good for education? I would think that by weeding out the inferior teachers and holding the rest to the highest common standard instead of lowering the standard to keep the lesser qualified would be good for education or for any profession and any business.

If you truly feel that this is not so then please explain why you feel that way.

Don't just attack me now and say I have no idea what I am talking about as so often is the case on this board. Defend your position with some facts. If you can do that I am sure you will gain the respect of many people reading here, and maybe change some minds over to your point of view.


The value-added measures system which is now going to be in place for every teacher has huge flaws. The margin of error is up to 55%! How can that be considered a fair and equitable system?

Additionally, as teachers we have no control over student behavior and study methods outside of the classroom. We cannot control how or if they study or if there is any support coming from the home. We cannot control the thousands of outside influences that ultimately affect students when it is time to test, and yet we are going to be held responsible for those thousands of outside influences.

Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining student success is parental involvement, yet parents are not held accountable when their children fail. Instead of questioning the child or themselves, they blame the teacher. Why aren't parents then evaluated and threatened? Because it's not logical. I agree that as teacher we should be held to high standards but you will find that most teachers, and all quality teachers, hold themselves to higher standards and expect more out of their students than the basics, and when you look at it that way, you should agree that the attacks on teachers, and using flawed value-added measures to evaluate them, is not logical either.
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:56 pm
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
I think everybody agrees that using tests to evaluate teachers is not the idea in measuring teacher ability. It is 2 levels of indirection. It attempts to quantify teacher ability by assessing student advancement which it approximates with results of standardized tests.

I certainly wouldn't want to use such a method to make distinctions between close results. However, if, starting with similar past year result students, one teacher has his 120 8th grade math students improve an average 0.8 years and another has his improve an average of 1.2 years, that is statistically valid and should serve as the basis to give the 2nd a bonus and the 1st remedial training and further action.

Why doesn't that work and other than coddling the poorest teachers, what is the reason to oppose it?
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:16 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:
Guest wrote:
and by the way Im not afraid of anything I do my job and so do my peers so bring on your evaluations and see what happens. This will not help education period.


I hope you are one of the quality teachers. I think there are definatley more good than bad, but how would weeding out the bad not be good for education? I would think that by weeding out the inferior teachers and holding the rest to the highest common standard instead of lowering the standard to keep the lesser qualified would be good for education or for any profession and any business.

If you truly feel that this is not so then please explain why you feel that way.

Don't just attack me now and say I have no idea what I am talking about as so often is the case on this board. Defend your position with some facts. If you can do that I am sure you will gain the respect of many people reading here, and maybe change some minds over to your point of view.


I'm not the poster who wrote the previous statement, but if you've read anything about the New York City teacher reports that have recently been released the system that is in place is vastly unfair. The value-added measures system which is now going to be in place for every teacher has huge flaws. The margin of error is up to 55%! How can that be considered a fair and equitable system?

Additionally, as teachers we have no control over student behavior and study methods outside of the classroom. We cannot control how or if they study or if there is any support coming from the home. We cannot control the thousands of outside influences that ultimately affect students when it is time to test, and yet we are going to be held responsible for those thousands of outside influences.

Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining student success is parental involvement, yet parents are not held accountable when their children fail. Instead of questioning the child or themselves, they blame the teacher. Why aren't parents then evaluated and threatened? Because it's not logical. I agree that as teacher we should be held to high standards but you will find that most teachers, and all quality teachers, hold themselves to higher standards and expect more out of their students than the basics, and when you look at it that way, you should agree that the attacks on teachers, and using flawed value-added measures to evaluate them, is not logical either.
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:36 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Guest wrote:
and by the way Im not afraid of anything I do my job and so do my peers so bring on your evaluations and see what happens. This will not help education period.


I hope you are one of the quality teachers. I think there are definatley more good than bad, but how would weeding out the bad not be good for education? I would think that by weeding out the inferior teachers and holding the rest to the highest common standard instead of lowering the standard to keep the lesser qualified would be good for education or for any profession and any business.

If you truly feel that this is not so then please explain why you feel that way.

Don't just attack me now and say I have no idea what I am talking about as so often is the case on this board. Defend your position with some facts. If you can do that I am sure you will gain the respect of many people reading here, and maybe change some minds over to your point of view.
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:40 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
and by the way Im not afraid of anything I do my job and so do my peers so bring on your evaluations and see what happens. This will not help education period.
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:11 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
Yea ok

As the president of the United states I challenge that :)
Post Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:10 am
  Post subject:  Re: In what other profession...  Reply with quote
As a retired NYC teacher I do know what I'm talking about. You're frightened of being held to a real standard.
Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:26 pm

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