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Tue Feb 28, 2012, 11:13 PM

To go along with movies and remaking the vision of teachers: from Florida...

http://www.pcta-pespa.org/

“AMERICAN TEACHER” MOVIE – GREAT NIGHT!

PCTA-PESPA sponsored the screening of the documentary film “American Teacher” on February 20th in the Clearwater High School Auditorium. More than two hundred were in attendance! Narrated by Matt Damon, the film traced the workdays of four American public school teachers.
The film was followed by a panel discussion exploring issues central to the film. Panelists were Robin Wikle, Chairperson of the Pinellas County School Board, John Stewart, Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools Brandt Robinson, Dunedin High School teacher, Manuel Sykes, President of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the NAACP, and Charles Derexson, President of the Florida PTA. The panel added to an informative night by offering incisive local viewpoints about the importance of our public schools and teachers here in Pinellas County.
A follow-up focus-group discussion will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at the Jade T. Moore Building from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. All are welcome! The film sparked in-depth conversations about important issues in public education and participants clearly wish to continue this critical dialogue. If you were unable to attend the screening of American Teacher, it is now available for public viewing from numerous sources. Members are encouraged to view this documentary and join the discussion!

Some facts from the film:
• There are 3.2 million public school teachers in the U.S. Of that number, 1.8 million will be eligible for retirement in the next 10 years.
• Over the years, fewer and fewer men have become teachers. In 1970, men in the teacher workforce represented 34% of the nation’s teachers. In 2002, they represented only 22%. Currently, they represent merely 16%.
• As teacher pay declined in purchasing power, so have test scores of students.
• The USA ranks #17 in education for the world’s industrialized nations.

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Reply To go along with movies and remaking the vision of teachers: from Florida... (Original post)
Sancho Feb 2012 OP
proud2BlibKansan Feb 2012 #1
FBaggins Feb 2012 #2
Sancho Feb 2012 #3
FBaggins Feb 2012 #4
Sancho Feb 2012 #5

Response to Sancho (Original post)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 01:09 AM

1. As teacher pay declined in purchasing power, so have test scores of students.

Duh

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 11:02 AM

2. Duh?

I thought we were unwilling to accept test scores as a measure of teacher performance.

That's a dangerous correlation/causation door to open.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 04:15 PM

3. Correlation doesn't imply causality...

as investment in education (including real dollar salaries) goes down, test scores may also go down. That is not saying anything about specific teacher quality or using test scores as the measure of good teaching.

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Response to Sancho (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 05:11 PM

4. True... but the post implied one in this case.

as investment in education (including real dollar salaries) goes down, test scores may also go down.

Well... this was more specifically teacher compensation (it's possible to spend more/less overall without teacher salaries moving at the same rate). I'd be more comfortable with something closer to what you're saying (that increased spending on education should have a positive impact on test scores)

That is not saying anything about specific teacher quality or using test scores as the measure of good teaching.

It comes awfully close to the corollary. If we aren't surprised that declining teacher compensation leads to lower test scores, then we're saying that the kind of teacher who is willing to work for that lower compensation, produces lesser results. More importantly, we're saying that teacher quality impacts test scores (and it does... but the link is not so direct).

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 06:43 PM

5. actually, that's not exactly correct...

we have know for decades that demographics, changes in simple things (like immigration laws, a new factory, etc), social changes (like the draft, war on drugs, birth control) ALL make greater impact on test scores than individual teachers, teacher training, or teacher selection. Why? Teachers are fairly homogeneous. National Merit Scholars go to medical school (or whatever). Competitive money makers go to business. In other words - it's a myth that changing teachers will make a great difference (or salaries or college classes). It would help if teachers were matched with situations they fit in for efficiency. It would also help if our systems learned lessons from some European and Eastern schools that have some good programs. Salaries cannot change enough in most schools to either motivate or change teacher behavior.

The movie makes the correlation. I can't say if it was implying anything about salaries. I do know (from decades of experience) that my wife and I easily double our salaries when we leave teaching, but we enjoy teaching.

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