Waiting for "Superman" (Pittsburgh) October 15th

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Do you plan to see the film Waiting for "Superman"?

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Waiting for "Superman" (Pittsburgh) October 15th

Post  Admin on Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:58 am

http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/action/city/pittsburgh

AMC Loews Waterfront 22
300 Waterfront Drive W
Homestead, PA 15120
(412) 462-6550

Opening Date: October 15,2010

http://www.fandango.com/amcloewswaterfront22_aaosa/theaterpage?date=10/15/2010


Last edited by Admin on Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added opening date info.)
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Waiting to see it

Post  steelctygal on Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:15 pm

I am really looking forward to seeing this movie, even if I have to travel to a city like DC that will show it...there HAS to be a better way to educate our children!
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Re: Waiting for "Superman" (Pittsburgh) October 15th

Post  Rosedale Resident on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:08 pm

OK. I just don't get it. Call me a lunkhead if you must.
How can pulling more money out of the public school system be a good thing?

I get the argument that these are public school open to everyone, but I don't see that as true. The film clips tell of lotteries to get in. So it is not open to everyone, just the lucky ones.

These schools preach parental involvement, if WE HAD THAT, the school system wouldn't be in the shape it is in now.

If you continue to drain the finances of the local school district, and continue to syphon the brains out of the classrooms, the you will be left with a district that can not survive. The only children left in these schools will be the unlucky losers, the most financially needy, the poorest of the poor. How can we toss these kids aside?

You just cannot keep taking money away from the district and expect it to survive, and it must survive before it can get better.

The President"s program, The Race to the Top, is supposed to help with money, and incentives,that are meant to weed out "bad" teachers and reward good ones. What the hell is going on in Harrisburg and the Municipality? Why has Pennsylvania been passed over twice for this program?

The mission of a public school system is to serve all, not just the lucky or privileged.

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Re: Waiting for "Superman" (Pittsburgh) October 15th

Post  steelctygal on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:42 am

But when the system is not working, has not been performing and has NOT been educating the children it's mission statement says it WILL educate...ALL children, then what is to be done?
Keep your children whom you OWE as a parent, a good and well rounded education in a system that is failing them, or find other options.
I feel that any money spent on a good education is money well spent...throwing good money after bad into a failing system and getting the same failing results makes no sense. If there are other options, other choices, other means to an end then so be it.

I want to see the movie for the entire view(as presented by the documentary) of the charter system, good bad and ugly, since I've already seen all views from the system we have here in place.
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Charter Schools ARE Public Schools, really

Post  jdcarmine on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:46 pm

Putting money in a charter school is NOT taking money out of the public schools, since a charter school really really is a public school. Funding works in a very simple way: If my child goes to a public charter school rather than the traditional public school the tax money that goes to educate my child goes to the public charter school rather than the traditional public school. Each school district receives money mostly from the real estate taxes in that school district to educate each child in that school district. If I choose to send my child to a private school, then none of that tax money goes toward the education of my child. That is why private schools do not like charter schools either. We can give a private school education to people who cannot afford a private school tuition. Traditional public schools don't like public charter schools because the district school board loses control of the money that is used to educate the child they are legally obligated to educate. This is what is so maddening about school boards, they would rather keep the money used to educate a child than give a child the chance to receive a better public school education in a public charter school.

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Failing schools?

Post  lsilverman on Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:56 am

I would love to see this movie. I wonder if they'll explore the politicization of education over the past few decades. My cynical viewpoint is that the "powers that be" set up a test that kids will fail so our leaders can run on education platforms and the entrepreneurs can run a racket of selling the best new software/textbooks/fix to the school districts at exhorbitant prices. I honestly believe that kids are getting a better education today than they did 30 years ago, but our society has changed.

Has anyone seen the amount of homework our kids are doing these days? I don't ever remember doing that much in the '70's. There are a ton of cultural factors that one must analyze before (again) blaming public schools. One of them is the negative impact of technology. When I was a kid, we played outside or read books, because there wasn't anything else to do. We didn't have 300 channels of garbage to watch on TV. We didn't passively play video games or text our friends all day. We ate real food that came from an actual chicken or potato or something that wasn't genetically engineered or processed to the nth degree, frozen and reheated, or God forbid, McDonald's or Wendy's 5 days a week! My point--our brains were nourished with actual food so that we could learn. I come from a "broken home," a so-called lousy school district and I still graduated at the top of my class in high school and college, so that's not necessarily an issue, although everyone wants to make it one.

Call me old-fashioned, but there's an entire slew of societal problems to blame for the quality of education before we blame the schools' performance (based on the nation's bogus proficiency tests). I have two kids in PHSD. One is at Linton, the other is at Washington. Both are doing fine. They haven't been "brought down" by a so-called "failing" school district. The one in Linton has consistently scored advanced on PSSA's. The only way I will pull them is if their safety is threatened, because quite frankly, the charter/private schools are not doing anything different in their classrooms except exerting the power to kick kids out when they act out of line.

Pardon my rant, but I fail to see the data on kids who started out as geniuses in kindergarten and who, as a result of a PHSD education, regressed into idiocy. If they have that data, I'll change my tune instantly, and buy everyone a drink on this forum (you can name the watering hole). Very Happy

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Yes and more

Post  jdcarmine on Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:06 am

I actually agree with much of your post lsilverman. Fundamentally, the problem is NOT public school teachers, my teacher friends are the best, really. And it breaks my heart that some of them think I am trying to insult them by bringing a charter school to Penn Hills. The difficulty comes when we ask why it has become so difficult for any teacher actually to teach effectively in the traditional public schools.

The answer is actually to be found in all the impediments to real education that our teachers face. These traps and barriers to their teaching success is put in place by the unions, the school boards, and the Education Schools that train our teachers. Traditional public schools are administered terribly, coerced by unions to avoid any innovation by teachers and our new teachers start with the enormous handicap of a horrible set of presumptions about teaching that they have learned in the over-priced ed schools where they receive their teaching degrees. In particular new teachers are fed the fantasy that education is primarily therapy and knowledge is some constructivist clap trap. This is why new teachers take no less than three years to learn to become good teachers. The very first thing they learn in the real classroom is virtually everything they were taught in college is simply bogus. The big advantage public charter schools have over traditional public schools, however, is we can actually eliminate much of the nonsense from the start. We can hire the best certified teachers available, and let our best teachers mentor our new teachers to succeed demonstrably in the classroom. Public Charter schools are not rigidly bound to the rules that assure mediocrity and worse in traditional public schools. All the testing lunacy we now face is certainly not the way to assure the best education, but it is at least an effective way to compare bad schools to good schools. I mean, if a school district cannot demonstrate that its children can at least read at grade level then something certainly needs to change.

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A few questions...

Post  lsilverman on Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:11 pm

How are unions telling teachers to stop innovative lessons?

How are charter schools getting the best teachers when data proves that charter schools offer some of the worst pay and have some of the worst teacher retention rates? Wouldn't the best teachers go to districts like Fox Chapel, where the salaries are? Check this link from 2006-07. Granted, some of the stats are a bit skewed since some of these charters haven't been open long enough for the staff to have built up tenure for a high overall salary averge, but it is understood by the public that charters and private schools don't offer competetive salaries as compared to public schools.

http://projects.mcall.com/teacher_pay/county/ALLEGHENY/ave_salary/1/

Please don't take this as an insult to you, JD, I'm just not sure where you're coming from on these issues and maybe I'm just misunderstanding your post. Please clarify...

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Friendly response

Post  jdcarmine on Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:17 pm

Hi lsilverman, I am in no way insulted by someone sincerely willing to discuss whether or not Penn Hills should embrace a new charter school. After all, I am doing my level best to bring a charter school to Penn Hills; so it is incumbent on me to do my best to demonstrate that it is a good idea for the majority of those in Penn Hills.

So, start with the real stats as described by the state:
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/school_assessments/7442

Penn Hills is simply not meeting AYP. That is a fact. We are also one of the worst school districts in Western PA, that is also a fact. Also, Pennsylvania teachers are some of the highest paid nationally, also a fact, despite the fact you accurately pointed out that Penn Hills teachers make somewhat less than teachers in other Allegheny County school districts. But the salary of a teacher in a school district is a consequence of the district tax base, state and federal money, and grants won. So, even though there is a correlation between salaries and performance in Allegheny County, minimal as it may be, it is an error to conclude that higher salaries cause better educational results. Higher salaries do not cause better teaching results. There are plenty of examples of lower paid teachers with vastly better education results than Penn Hills public school teachers, and examples of teachers who make vastly more than Penn Hills teachers with vastly worse educational results, for example union public school teachers in Harlem NYC.

Next, MANY MANY teachers choose to work in private schools for much less pay than public school teachers earn simply because they enjoy the freedom they have to teach the material they think will be most effective... and the fact they do not have to worry about offending their union leaders. Imagine if a union public school teacher even suggested that maybe he or she could teach a class of 30 just as easily as a class of 20? I bet that teacher would be roundly ostracized to say the least!

Finally, a good charter school need not be the only job a teacher has during her or his career. For example, a starting teacher would receive modest pay until that teacher demonstrated excellent results and would then see a raise in compensation accordingly. If a charter-school teacher was not pleased with the salary that teacher could easily move to another school and likely would. On the other hand, a charter school could, and we will, recruit top teachers by offering top salaries. This is the way it is done in all successful businesses, including colleges and universities; so there is no reason not to pay above scale for above scale performers. This certainly flies in the face of the teacher union's de facto enforcement of mediocrity. There is no incentive for a union teacher to even aspire to excel beyond the pack. There is no reward, only resentment and possibly even retribution, if a new union teacher shows up colleagues who have seniority! The evidence for this is how badly Teach America teachers are treated. I, however, would want to offer that Teach America teacher as high a salary as I could if that teacher was a real super performer in the classroom.
Hopefully these responses allay some of your trepidation, though I entirely recognize that new things are always a risk. Imagine schools are not new, but bringing a charter school to Penn Hills certainly is. Thanks!

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Let's agree to disagree!

Post  lsilverman on Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:59 pm

JD--

I feel that you have quite a few misconceptions about the work that public school teachers do or do not do. I am a union member and a public school teacher. Please see the MAJOR project that I did last year that took hundreds of hours away from my own family to help enhance the education of other people's children last year. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09358/1023149-56.stm?cmpid=localstate.xml
I didn't make a nickel from this innovative approach to teaching; in fact, I ended up spending money out of pocket to fund a lot of expenses that I hadn't anticipated when I wrote the grant. The union never ONCE chastised me for going above the call of duty.

Likewise, I go above and beyond the call of duty for my students throughout the year. I have never been mediocritized by pay. I put in 50+ hours a week even though I am contracted for 40. I attend school functions to support my students even though I don't get paid to do it. Guess how my students did on PSSA's? Around 56% passed the last I checked statistics. In my tenure, I have had students on my roster who were homeless, students addicted to drugs, and students physically and mentally abused or neglected. I have had students who have lived with many relatives, in and out of cities in Allegheny County, and in constant flux their entire lives. Needless to say, the gaps in their learning are many, and working with them intensely and compassionately as I have has not made the impact that I would like it to have made on the PSSA's. And yet people like you go on this website pretending to know why a district like Penn Hills has failing test scores.

It is a good point that you made about teachers loving the private sector. I worked in a private school once for a lot less pay than I make now. I didn't think for a moment that the private school sector was where I could best apply my talents, although it was one of my easiest teaching assignments. I chose a district like Woodland Hills so I could make a difference in the lives of these children who have so many needs and who are often suffering from so many failings in society, the least of which is the public school system. My peers are of the same mindset. We swim upstream every day to face the most challenging issues head on, and yet we are still blasted by the public for a myriad of issues that started when many of these children were still in the womb.

Did you know that many of the teachers who teach in Penn Hills are graduates of the district? They could have gone to a lot of places with better pay, and yet they chose to stay in the district and make a difference in their community. How dare you insult this group by presuming that they are ill-prepared to teach? They have more tools in their belts than you could ever imagine, and like any good social worker, they learn things as they go. Like any trade or profession, the more experience, the better they get. I am 17 years in and still learning new ways to reach and teach kids. They are human beings, and like snowflakes, no two are alike. What works for one may not work for another. Unlike your presumption, we older teachers do mentor the younger ones. We give them materials and we share our ideas with how to deal with content or student-related issues. I have two teacher of the year candidates in my building who have helped anyone who needed it. The things that these teachers do are not the exception to the rule; the exception to the rule is the lazy teacher who just coasts and gets the pay raise without working for it. Unfortunately, we do need unions to protect us against ill conceived notions similar to the ones you are posting, but they also ensure that we have a safe work environment and the materials that we need to do our jobs effectively.

I feel that your charter school is a good option for those who take advantage of it. Any good democracy needs freedom of choice, and not every student learns in the same way, so I am not opposed to having charter schools or private schools as an option. I AM, however, extremely miffed by somebody coming on this website and posting that charter schools are a BETTER alternative, and that our public teachers are inadequate. As I posted earlier, I have two children in the district who are doing extremely well. My friends and neighbors' kids are doing well. There are kids failing PSSA's, but there are a heck of a lot of them doing a fantastic job. Let's not forget that all teachers, charter or public, are in it to fight the good fight. With all that I contribute, I just cannot get over the fact that I would be considered a bad teacher in your mind because I can't get all of my students to pass that stupid test!

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Wow

Post  jdcarmine on Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:33 pm

Hey...Since I am certain you are not a bad teacher, from what you have written and your total passion for teaching --in fact you sound like a super duper teacher-- if we are able to open and you are interested, we could certainly use your help any way you would be willing to offer it. Great teachers like you would certainly be able to help us create new exciting learning opportunities for our district. In the end we are both working in public eduction with exactly the same goals for our district's kids.
Jim Carmine
jdcarmine@carlow.edu

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Penn Hills Graduate

Post  steelctygal on Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:28 pm

I have to respond....as a parent and Penn Hills school district graduate. The education level that the children are receiving is different, period, from the education I received in this District. I, like most of my peers that remained in the area, could not imagine enrolling my children in another district. Call it Big Red Pride, or the firm belief that my children would excel and receive the same or better education than I did. Lsilverman sounds like the type of teachers I grew up in this district with, for your commitment, thank you.

My daughter graduated towards the top of her class, was accepted at several schools and enrolled at IUP. At the placement testing, she told me that she felt so far behind and unprepared she was afraid she had made a mistake in enrolling there, instead of CCAC for a year or two to come up to speed. This is my child, proficient on the PSSA, feeling this way. Not typical insecurity or self doubt, test freezing, or anything other than an actual comparison of the work level and feeling that she was not up to it.

While there may be many teachers as committed as LSilverman in the district, many administrators and many parents all committed to success, it(success) is not happening in total or across the board for ALL students. The misson statement is not being met. While the PSSA may be a "stupid test," and while it was not around during my time at Penn Hills, it is now a standard by which the district is measured. A standard that Penn Hills School district in part and whole are not consistently meeting.

It is very easy to say my children are doing well, my neighbors children are doing well....I am doing all I can in excess of my job requirement. With 38% of African American Students, and 69% of White Students proficient in reading and similar numbers in math, everyone can't claim "my children are doing fine." Somewhere, something is wrong...and if by seeing a movie or considering and discussing an alternative education option slights the DISTRICT...so be it.

I believe, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." - Frederick Douglass. The system has to be seen with the flaws that are actually present, and Penn Hills cannot consistently rank in the bottom 5 districts in the area/county without there being a problem. The problem cannot ONLY be the students, or ONLY be the parents, or ONLY be the teachers, or ONLY be the administration. The education these children receive today directly affects the way they care for themselves in the future. I believe in a strong foundation and regardless of if that foundation is built on a public or a public charter school system, a strong foundation is all I care about.
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Proposed charter school may present 'very big problem' for Penn Hills

Post  Rosedale Resident on Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:38 pm

Proposed charter school may present 'very big problem' for Penn Hills

By Tony LaRussa
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, October 14, 2010


If the public charter school being proposed for Penn Hills is approved, the school district could end up paying it millions of dollars to educate the children who go there, district officials say.

Under the current funding system for charter schools, the bulk of the per-pupil reimbursement districts receive from the state follows a child if he or she attends a charter school, according to John Plazarin, Penn Hills' director of student accounting.

"We're getting about $10,600 a year from the state for each student who is not in special education classes," Plazarin said. "But if a student goes to a charter school, the state only gives us about $2,800."

The school district sends the entire $10,600 per student to the charter school and then receives the smaller subsidy from the state at a later date.

Officials with Arlington, Va.-based Imagine Schools are planning to submit an application to the district in November to open a kindergarten through eighth grade school in the municipality. Imagine operates 71 public charter schools in the U.S., including one in Regent Square, which focus on environmental issues. The school in Penn Hills would focus on developing entrepreneurship.

Imagine hopes to have a building large enough for 600 students, which means that when it reaches full capacity, it could end up receiving as much $6.36 million in annual payments from Penn Hills if all the students who attend live in the district, according to Plazarin.

The charter school would be open to students from any local district, but children from Penn Hills would get first preference, company officials said.

Plazarin said he believes having a charter school close to home could be a draw for parents now "on the fence" about sending their children to one because they are too far.

"I don't think all the kids who go there will be from Penn Hills, but I suspect a great number of them will since it will be right in the community," he said.

The payment to the Imagine school would be in addition to the nearly $4 million a year the district now pays to other charter schools that educate children from Penn Hills.

Imagine spokesman Terry Varkonda said the school likely would open as a kindergarten through third grade school and add another grade each year, though that could change.

"If we have to construct a new building, or if what's available requires extensive, costly renovations, we might have to start out with more grades so there is enough revenue available to cover expenses," he said.

Varkonda said Imagine is on track to submit an application to the district by mid-November.

Richard Liberto, the district's director of business affairs, said the loss of several million a year in revenue could be "a very big problem" because the district must pay for the construction of new school buildings. That requires about $5 million a year to pay off $130 million in bonds.

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Liberto statement misleading

Post  jdcarmine on Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:04 pm

Look, this is mere political subterfuge. If our children continue to leave the traditional public schools at the rate they now are leaving, the school board will still lose that money, but instead of the money staying in Penn Hills WHERE WE NEED IT, the money spent to educate our children, our money, will fly out to Wexford or Braddock or one of the neighboring districts that already have existing charter schools. For example Propel's new charter school is growing wildly, and it is taking Penn Hills students. My child for example is in Propel. In a word, this is a specious (fake) argument. The "very big problem" is our Penn Hills students are already fleeing our traditional public schools and going to charter schools. So it only makes sense that if Imagine will pay to build or fix a building this keeps both OUR money and the new building in OUR district. To stop Imagine from giving so many Penn Hills parents exactly what we want would be reckless. Keep our money home to educate our children. The traditional public school board is losing students and money because of Penn Hills parents' lack of confidence in how they are running this district. This entire "moratorium" nonsense is a political ploy by Jack Wagner to help his Democratic buddy become governor. You have to admit, it is pretty suspicious that this moratorium nonsense comes up as soon as Onorato starts trailing so badly. Please, politics is just politics and this is politics. Support OUR public schools, and that includes OUR public charter school.

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Penn Hills School District presents 'very big problem' for Penn Hills

Post  HopefulInPh on Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:11 pm

I don't get it, residents have been pulling their children from the Penn Hills Public School system for YEARS. The district will still recieve about $2,800 for a child they are not educating. A Chater School will gives parents more options. I'm for parents having options!

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Hopeful is right

Post  jdcarmine on Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:23 pm

You are exactly right Hopeful, EXACTLY right.

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I agree

Post  steelctygal on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:36 am

HopefulinPH, I totally agree! Children have been moving out of the district for a long time, moving into cyber schools and charter schools and other districts.

If there are options then they can be weighed and choices can be made, parents wouldn't seek to flee a successful district...if money is the motivator to hang on to children in a district to keep the building project solvent, that's a bigger problem. Because that argument means my child is a $ sign, and getting him/her in the door is the objective...to be counted, banked on then educated....seems backwards to me and completely contrary to the mission statement of this or any other district.
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School documentary merits failing grade

Post  Rosedale Resident on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:12 pm

School documentary merits failing grade
Friday, October 15, 2010
By Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Director Davis Guggenheim's documentary, "Waiting for Superman," is a very strange morality tale about American public school education.

Hailed by critics as a call for the kind of education reform only the private sector is allegedly capable of delivering, it gives lip service to democratic ideals of public education before selling out completely to Lex Luthor.

In the film's opening minutes, Mr. Guggenheim confesses that as much as he believes in public education in theory, his kids go to private school.

Mr. Guggenheim even films himself driving past the school they would have attended if he weren't an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, as director of "An Inconvenient Truth," the global-warming documentary featuring Al Gore. Copping to hypocrisy so close to the opening credits is an odd way to begin a film about the woeful state of American education.

While ostensibly raising hard truths, "Waiting for Superman" is an unapologetic stalking horse for the market-oriented approach to education reform embodied by the charter school movement. Though only 17 percent of charter schools out-perform public schools, you'd never know it from this film.

As easy as it is to admire the work of the documentary's star, Harlem Children's Zone founder Geoffrey Canada, it is clear that Mr. Guggenheim was more interested in celebrating that program as a model for other charter schools across the nation than evaluating its educational track record, which is mixed.

At a time when calls for the privatization of huge swaths of public education are applause lines for politicians of both parties, the fact that billionaires and hedge fund operators sit on the Harlem school's board of directors should have merited a few minutes of thoughtful exploration.

A self-described "lefty" like Mr. Guggenheim should feel leery that Wall Street is jockeying for greater influence in public education and the shaping of curriculum.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates' testimony before Congress that America's high-tech industries are forced to recruit overseas for educated workers is recorded as evidence of corporate America's push for more rigorous testing and standardized curriculum that meets industry's needs.

When famed education reformer Marva Collins built Westside Preparatory in a Chicago ghetto in the 1970s, she trained a generation of critical thinkers who could discuss Dostoevsky and do engineering. She did it by stressing daily immersion in the Socratic method over endless test prep.

Art, music, the classics and science were as big a part of Ms. Collins' curriculum as math and reading. She made her students prepare for the world beyond their neighborhoods and she did it without corporate money or federal support.

What would today's corporations prefer to get out of the charter school experiment: educationally well-rounded employees capable of skepticism, or obedient, narrowly functioning workers who can operate micro-processors?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to the Newark, N.J., school system last month may be the beginning of a wave of corporate sponsorship and domination of public education, especially in troubled cities where minority dropout rates approach 70 and 80 percent.

Mr. Canada's Harlem Children's Zone is coming to Homewood next year, with plans to expand to other neighborhoods in the city if the model attracts the support of local corporations and nonprofits. Still, even that program can't begin operating on a national scale without serious corporate largess and input.

The big question "Waiting for Superman" never openly entertains is: Should a democracy allow public education to become a for-profit enterprise for the sake of developing a more efficient and specialized work force?

Meanwhile, the film lays blame for the nation's educational mediocrity on teachers and their "nefarious" union reps. Teachers' unions are indicted for using such thoroughly evil legal maneuvers as "due process" to protect members from being fired at will, as they would have been in the glory days of the 19th century.

Ironically, Finland boasts the best public schools in the world despite a 100 percent unionized teacher work force. Finnish teachers also use an educational method similar to that of Marva Collins. Imagine that!

Generational poverty, the deindustrialization of cities and the subsequent loss of property taxes to fund urban education are hardly mentioned as culprits in this film. Parental indifference to quality education also gets a pass.

Instead, we're treated to a melodrama about a lottery that will determine the educational future of five kids trying desperately to get into charter schools. It's a simplistic portrayal of a very complex reality. Somewhere, Lex Luthor is smiling as he counts his profits.
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School Thoughts

Post  mr.ed on Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:52 pm

A couple random thoughts:
I do agree with lsilverman that the kids are probably working harder than I ever did. I really didn't do a lot of homework like they are expected to do today. However the amount of money per pupil being spent now is probably much higher.

I was never a fan of those standardized PSSA tests, and I am very much against these graduation tests that are going to cost many millions of dollars. However the tests might be pointing out that there is a problem in our school that might have gone unnoticed.

I really don't think Penn Hills should be ranked in such a low position with respect to other schools in Pennsylvania. My goal would to get Penn Hills closer to the middle of the pack. This problem could be solved by reducing the achievement gap.

What drives me crazy is that nobody seems to be trying anything to solve the problem. I think that the time wasted so far on the new buildings, has been a major distraction.

I do not think that there is enough educational talent on the school board to help come to grips with the problem. Some of them are there to show support for thier kids that attend the school, and that is admirable, however if your not qualified to run a multi-million dollar operation that must educate 4000 pupils you should not run for that position. We the taxpayers, pay again by them having to hire all manner of consultants to make up for the lack of intrinsic qualification of the board.

I would be more Proud of Penn Hills Schools if the students ranked in the middle of the pssa pack statewide, or county wide, that them winning some sports championship.

mr.ed

Posts : 16
Join date : 2010-03-08

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REALLY

Post  shealey325 on Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:01 pm

Rolling Eyes
"
They haven't been "brought down" by a so-called "failing" school district. The one in Linton has consistently scored advanced on PSSA's. The only way I will pull them is if their safety is threatened, because quite frankly, the charter/private schools are not doing anything different in their classrooms except exerting the power to kick kids out when they act out of line".


Lsilverman I love you but this is so WRONG. My children attend a charter school and I can tell you first hand there is a BIG difference with them compared to Penn Hills. My 11 year old is not only getting an education she is getting a challenging education. My 7 year old is getting a quality education and I can tell you their first grade and PH first grade are totally different. I will say this ,in 1st and 2nd grade my oldest had GREAT teachers. It was 3rd and 4th grade that really made me change schools. Penn Hills will need to do a lot of changing and the first change is the SB and Central Administration. You know and I know some children in this district are taught while others are "controlled".

I respect your opinion however I know firsthand this district does what it wants at the expense of our kids. There is NO denying this district is failing ,just ask the STATE they are here every week making sure the district is following the plan to improve the school

shealey325

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I love you too!

Post  lsilverman on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:49 pm

Aw geez, Shealey, I'm not knocking Charters. It's just that they have a lot more power to control what type of population that they have in the school. For one, all of the kids who go there have at least one loving parent who had to go through all the paperwork and red tape to get them there in the first place. A lot of my students don't have any of that, and it's my belief that one good parent has more of an impact on that kid learning than anything the teachers or school district will or won't do.

Anyway, I guess the way I'm looking at it is that the kids in the charters want to be there and their parents want them to be there, too. Then the real teaching can happen because there aren't as many distractions with kids who hate school or disrupt it to the point where I have to stop a challenging lesson to take care of that kid who's disrupting your kid's learning. And maybe I'm wrong, but I'm assuming that the charters have a lot fewer distractions than what I have to deal with in order to teach the masses. It's not like back in the day when a kid acts up in class and then the parent supports the teacher. Nowadays, it's often as if we teachers are almost being blamed for the kids misbehaving. It's frustrating because we want to move forward, but sometimes we feel like our hands are tied. On the other hand, I have a ton of kids who do well no matter what life throws at them. Kids are amazingly resilient and never cease to fascinate me!

Anyway, that's the angle from which I was looking at this situation...

lsilverman

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Re: Waiting for "Superman" (Pittsburgh) October 15th

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