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In response to:

The Unemployment Figure Is A 'Big Lie'

Debi34 Wrote: Feb 10, 2015 10:37 AM
Another little reported fact is the lower wages those of us with full time jobs are making compared to pre-recession times. In 2008 my husband alone made more than our combined 2014 income. Our lower wages cause a ripple effect: We don't eat out as often. We don't spend money on entertainment like we used to. I don't buy as many clothes or go to the spa like I used to. We don't take vacations as often. Multiply that by millions of households who have also taken wage hits. No wonder the economy is still so sluggish! I miss the Reagan Recovery. It was much better!
I've been teaching in the public school for 27 years. For 26 of those years I taught in a high performing, upper middle class district. It was a great place with supportive, involved parents and happy kids. We regularly had 90% or better passing rates on all the tests. This year, my husband's job moved us to a new state. I decided to take my years of experience and put them to good use teaching kindergarten on the poorest Indian Reservation in the state. (After all, I am a Conservative and isn't that what Conservatives do? Put our ideals into actions, not just lip service???). Anyway, this was the biggest mistake of my life. I want so much to help these students, but the barriers put in my way are immense. From a totally inept administration to fellow teachers who think the only way to manage the class is to yell at the students to "Coaches" who tell you the best instruction is to follow the Teacher's Manual word for word. The behavior problems are horrendous. I've been kicked, bitten, and cursed at numerous times. I look at several of my sweet, bright young students who really want to learn, and their parents, who really want a good education for their children because they know that is the ticket out of the terrible poverty they live in, and I wish there was a better option for them then this miserable failure of a public school system. These kids who really want an education deserve better! Sadly, this will be my only year teaching at this school. I want to teach, not work in a war zone!
In response to:

The Dead-End Road Called Pre-K

Debi34 Wrote: Aug 26, 2014 8:56 AM
As a kindergarten teacher for over 20 years I can say that the children who come to K best prepared are those who come from two-parent homes where the mom does not work full time. As a whole, those children are well adjusted, happy and confident children, ready to take on the larger world. The worst prepared? Boys from single mothers who were sent to daycare centers. What those kids learned at the daycares, even so called high quality day cares, is survival. They learned to take what they could get and to look out only for themselves.
The Beautiful Man on Townhall!! Great article, James T! I worry you will grow beyond our little desert town and move on to bigger and better things. But I wish you well!
I don't know why they are here but I do know they are here legally and his father has a good job and is working hard, along with his son, to assimilate into our country. Not all immigrants are deadbeats or jihadists. I also know they are Christians (perhaps why they are refugees??) so they are escaping the Jihad, not training for it. Instead, why don't you consider the point of my comment that we expect all children to reach the same standard (hence the "Common" in Common Core) and that is an unreasonable expectation considering no two children are alike! By the way, the daughter of the two doctors is a spoiled, elitist brat, and her parents are very liberal. The Afghan boy is polite and well behaved. I'd rather spend my tax money to educate a kid like that and give him a chance to succeed!
One of the fundamental flaws of our educational system is the idea that all children of the same chronological age should be held to the same educational bar. Any parent with more than one child knows that each child is an individual who develops at his/her own pace. I've been in public education for over 25 years. In my current first grade class I have kids who are just beginning to really make sense of those little black marks on the page all the way to fluent readers who can read anything I put in front of them. My job as their teacher is to push each one forward from where they are to a higher level. Because a lot of my students have surpassed the standard, should I stop teaching them? My sweet little boy who is a refugee from Afghanistan who could barely speak English at the beginning of the year will never catch up to the girl who has lived in luxury all her life and whose parents are both doctors and give her every advantage! But, that little boy is working his tail off and making huge gains. Unfortunately, he is going to be labeled "at risk" because he is going to score poorly at the end of year tests compared to her. He is not at risk!!! He just came in behind the other kids and no matter how hard he works the other kids keep moving forward, too, and he will never catch up! His strong work ethic and supportive, loving parents will help him succeed in life. But, I worry that this system that keeps labeling him a failure will eventually squash that spirit in him...
My husband and I have lived all our lives in California. I hate what the libs have done to our once golden state. We are giving up and getting out while we still can. We see no future for ourselves nor our children. It is so sad to leave our friends and families, but the great weather can only get us so far. Just waiting for school to get out to make the final move. We've both already been hired for new jobs in Arizona where our salaries will be smaller but our standard of living will be significantly higher!!!
In my first grade classroom, I do use the first example (we call them 10 sticks and circles) to show the children in a concrete way what 19+6 means. The problem I am seeing with all these examples is that teachers are not taking the next step, which is to then use the concrete examples to show why the algorithm works! I show my students that by combining the 9 circles and the 6 circles to get 15 circles you can make 1 new group of 10 with 5 left over. That new group of 10 is the 1 you carry in the traditional algorithm. We are just now doing this in my classroom. The kids are totally getting the concept as to why we carry the 1 over to the next column. This concept is just supposed to be a step towards understanding why the algorithm works, not the only way to solve the problem!!!
In response to:

The Troubles with Common Core

Debi34 Wrote: Apr 21, 2014 7:48 PM
As a public school teacher for 26 years who also happens to be conservative I find it interesting that Common Core is hated by both conservatives and liberals. Conservatives hate it because it represents more big government intrusion into our children's lives. Liberals hate it because it is financed by big business and the testing industry and leads to programs like Teach For America that hurts teachers unions. Who likes it? The Washington Elite who see it as another way to gain power over the people. I think this is an issue big enough to start a movement to topple those elites and get the power back to the people where it belongs. Unfortunately, I don't think the two sides could work together well enough to do that. So, the Elites will probably win in the end and we will be stuck with the Common Core...
All of this is very true. I have been a public school teacher for 26 years. I have had tenure for 20 of them. Once I got tenure, I could have easily skated along. I have a colleague in the room next door to me. Every day he leaves at the same time the kids do. His kids often spend a lot of time watching videos or just playing around. My students are always better prepared for the next grade and I have many parents requesting their child be placed in my classroom rather than my neighbor's. But, guess what? He has a Master's Degree so he actually makes MORE money than I do! I sometimes wish I did not love teaching children how to read so much because I know I could make a lot more money and have a lot less stress if I moved to the private sector. But, I do love my students and will keep doing what I do. But, it also is very disheartening to read all these comments about how lazy teachers are and how liberal we all are. Not all of us are!!!!! I hate being a member of a union and would give up my tenure in a heartbeat. I know I am a good teacher. I don't need tenure or a union to protect me.
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