Monday, September 28, 2009

Listen-Up, GTA!

Obama Wants Longer School Days & School Year,
To Improve Academic Performance & Global Competition


SCATS ~~ There go our school taxes again!


Anonymous said...

Sorry. With their contract a longer school day just means that we will have to hire more teachers to extend the day. Some will start at 7 for their 6 hour day and some will start at 8 for their 6 hour day. So the high school will be in session for 7 hours. You didn't think they would voluntarily sign on for a longer day. Even at the elementary level we could have 2 shifts of teachers.
Be careful we could save space by having split sessions too.
Imagine the grievances from the union as they demand a shift differential for those on the later shift that is inconvenient.
A longer school day is a good idea and is necessary but the taxpayers will foot the bill.

SCATS said...

To 2:27PM ~~ Thus my comment about school taxes ;)

I think GCSD added 15 minutes to the school day back in the late 1990's ... because then, as now, we were lagging behind in the county. Have the other districts lengthened their days? Or did Greece negotiate time away yet again?

Anonymous said...

If the state was to mandate a longer year, would that not require teachers to teach the required in seesion days, and then the contract would address non-student days?

I am all for it! In our home we continue school throughout the summer with wowrkbooks and review , especially in math and ELA.

Anonymous said...

SCATS, I don't see why taxes would be going up any, remember their in teaching for the kids!

SCATS said...

To Coffee ~~ Mandating time in school doesn't always translate into full school days. As long as the school is open a certain number of hours, it counts as a full day. I'm not quite sure what you mean by non-student days, unless you are referring to the days before school opens & after it closes that teachers must report.

To 5:22PM ~~ Thank you for reminding me of that! I almost forgot ;)

Anonymous said...

Scats I was wondering if the state says kids must be in school 250 days, ( I know the 1/2 days count) does that not mean that the teachers would have to teach those days no matter if the contract says 180? Would not the state law trump the teachers contract?

Anonymous said...

We can't change anything the teachers do without re-negotiations. Once a superintendent tried to get the teachers to give up a day of Easter vacation because of snow closings and the teachers grieved. They had already made their travel plans and that would require negotiations.
The number of days they have to be in the buildings is stated in the contract. If the school year were extended we would have to pay them overtime or per diem and it would be voluntary. It doesn't seem logical but that's the way it is.
Can you imagine the increase in the budget if the 180 or whatever days were increased by 2% or about 4 days. What is that amount of the teachers' pay? Does anyone know anymore what the total number of teachers is and the total amount budgeted for them?
I don't see the school year or the school day being lengthened anytime soon.
And what is it that we are missing that the home school parents have down to a science? They are the kids that ace spelling bees and get perfect scores on SATs. Is it a feeling of safety or back to basics reading and writing skills or the close attention. Not a recommendation but couldn't the public school system learn something from this very low cost education?
And what have we learned from the "learning laboratories" that Westridge and Pinebrook and Odyssey were supposedly created to be?

SCATS said...

To 7:37PM ~~ Teachers must attend for 185 days I think. There's just about 1100 teachers and the 2009-10proposed budget book shows that "Teaching" eats up $88,197,380 or about 63% of the total budget.

Here's a link so you can look things up as you like: ProposedBudget

SCATS said...

Coffee ~~ You ask a great question. I suspect the post after yours may have answered that correctly. At any rate, I think it's safe to say the Commissioner of Education in NY is NEVER going to put out such an edict. It would be political suicide, and I'm sure he knows it.

Paul said...

For those of you who think teachers get paid too much check out this link

I always notice all of the people who complain that teachers have it easy and make too much money are not teachers. If it was such an easy lucrative job then why are there always shortages of qualified teachers? I say we hold teachers accountable and create a better evaluation system, but also compensate them accordingly.

For instance we often focus on math and science as important in education. Yet most of the best and brightest math and science oriented minds would take at least a 50% pay cut to be a teacher. Check out most math, science careers that require a masters degree, their starting salary is in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. A starting salary for a teacher around $35000. Now I know teachers work about 185 days and they may work 250 but the salary difference does not account for that. And anyone who says that teachers work 6 hour days has not spent very much time in a school.

So I guess my point is, if you want better teachers you need to be able to hire them, do you really think there is this big pool of highly qualified teacher out there who don't have a job? No they are doing something else making more money. How do we get them to teach? $$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

If I could, I would like to take a stab at the question: And what have we learned from t"he "learning laboratories" that Westridge and Pinebrook and Odyssey were supposedly created to be?"

My answer is that we have learned if you are a district employee, make "enough" money, not a person of color, politically connected (COC), or on the school board... you mysteriously get your kids into these schools. What we haven't learned, however, is how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in diesel fuel is spent (EVERY YEAR) keeping these ""learning laboratories" running as they do.

SCATS said...

To Paul ~~ First of all, as far as I'm aware, Greece has had no problem finding adequate teaching staff every year. We live in a region where we are laden with colleges that churn out hundreds of new wannabe teachers every year.

Regarding the salary part of your comments, I have a bit of a different theory and I'm pretty sure it's not at all politically correct. But I'll say it anyway. The people who choose to become teachers, for the most part could never survive or make it in those other jobs you are talking about. It's not as if MOST teachers would have been able to become rocket scientists if they hadn't chosen teaching for a career. Conversely, I don't think you will lure that many rocket scientists into the classrooms of the public education system either. It simply isn't the right challenge for their capabilities.

And for the record, there are a number of people in my extended family with various graduate degrees including a couple of teachers. When questioned in depth, they basically admit that what I just stated is true ... and they choke while they do it.

Anonymous said...

7:37 the super. of a district is not equal to the head of the State Education Department, or the Federal Ed. Dept. If a law is passed it would not matter what the contract days are (?), the cotracts are with the school districts and not the government.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people I talk to would have no trouble paying a beginning teacher who was a physics major or math major twice the salary of a pre-K or elementary teacher. Even if they weren't certified but knew the subject matter and could teach it. (remember all your college professors were not trained in how to teach) After all, many of the science-secondary ed graduates in NY state had a major in some science but not necessarily in what they have to teach. Example-the pre med student changes her mind and transfers to a secondary ed biology major who has to teach earth science or physics when hired. You know it happens. Why not have what they use at MCC or RIT with adjunct faculty that teach 1 or 2 courses wonderfully in their subject matter. We cannot do that because we have to hire certified first.
And as far as paying the more scarce subject teacher more-that is forbidden under most contracts.

Anonymous said...

Our educational system nationwide is a dismal failure. Once the unions took over the education of our children was lost. The educational system is designed to protect and serve the people who run it and work within it. All one has to do is look at the union contracts in NYS and all the laws on the books at the State and Federal level that protect employees and you can see what I mean.

Obama can legislate anything he wants but the unions will never let it happen without HUGE costs associated with it.

If I had to do it over again I would home school my kid in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Longer school day? Yes; but not for all.

First, we need a longer day for those teachers that need help teaching. Mentors should be made available and these teachers should be on a strict improvemnt path. Evaluation on a weekly basis a must. Tenure dependent on significant progress (even for those already granted tenure).

Second: students needing extra help should be given 20-45 minutes per day extra help until they perform up to expectations. Parents/guardians must report to bi-weekly meetings/phone calls as long as the student needs this extra help.

All for now: more on other students later this week.

Anonymous said...

"Parents/guardians must report to bi-weekly meetings/phone calls as long as the student needs this extra help."

Wow. Nice thought.

Another thought, High School parent conference days, a decade ago, used to be standing room
only crowds. A real time of parent teacher connection.

After several years of changing the conference structure, so few parents participated that High School conferences have been cancelled. Yes, I realize that we now have web pages and email for communication, but I still feel we've lost something without the one to one conversation - on the school calendar - saying "We feel that it is important that parents and teachers talk to each other. So Important that we have set aside time especially for this. "

SCATS said...

To 8:47PM ~~ You forgot to mention that Odyssey is the exception to the rule at the HS level. Parents DO go in for conferences there. Maybe not all, but many do.

Anonymous said...

Paul is way off. Teaching is part time work for full time pay. Many teachers (particulary senior high school teachers) only teach a few classes per day. The start pay is appropriate considering the college reimbursement and mentoring. I believe many teachers enter the profession specifically for the lighter load - and that's fine. But don't take the lighter load and then complain it is heavier than everyone elses.