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18.9.19 0202
The W - Current Events & Politics - Bush Touts School Voucher Plan
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DrOp
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Since: 2.1.02

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#1 Posted on
from CNN.com
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/07/01/bush.education.ap/index.html

Bush touts voucher program during D.C. school visit
Critics say public schools would be hurt
Tuesday, July 1, 2003 Posted: 12:30 PM EDT (1630 GMT)

President Bush: "We cannot have a two-tiered education system in America."


------------------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush renewed his push for school-vouchers on Tuesday, backing legislation that would give District of Columbia children private-school tuition grants and, Bush hopes, spark new momentum nationwide for such programs.

Bush has rarely spoken out for vouchers since Congress rejected his proposal two years ago to strip federal funds from the worst-performing schools and make them available to parents for private education vouchers.

On Tuesday, he gave an impassioned new call for such programs, which are beloved by conservatives.

"We cannot have a two-tiered education system in America -- one tier for those who can afford a certain type of school and one tier for those who can't," Bush said. "So this plan is an attempt to say the two-tiered deal is over with."

Critics, including teachers unions, say vouchers drain money from public schools and too often end up supporting religious schools.

Bush is backing a bill that would allocate $75 million of his 2004 budget for a national "school choice" incentive plan, open to several cities. Of that, $15 million would go to District of Columbia schools.

The legislation sponsored by Rep. Thomas Davis, R-Virginia, would provide $7,500 a year to lower-income D.C. children enrolled in targeted public schools. Davis and Bush say the program could reach at least 2,000 of the city's 67,000 public school students.

"It is the beginning of an experiment that will show whether or not private-school choice makes a difference in quality education in public schools. I happen to believe it will," Bush said at a charter school known as KIPP DC: Key Academy, in a low-income neighborhood in Southeast Washington.

KIPP, which stands for Knowledge is Power Program, runs 15 schools around the country that have won praise for raising test scores among low-income students.

Bush said he hoped the D.C. component of the program would serve as a model nationwide.

"The change will cause folks to want to invigorate their own curriculum and to figure out what's going right or wrong," Bush said. "It certainly shakes the system up, and it sounds like to me the system needs to be shaken up if you're not doing as well as you should be here in Washington, D.C."

The National Assessment of Educational Progress released reading scores last month that showed students in D.C. Public Schools scoring lower than students in any of the 50 states. The NAEP tests are mandated by the U.S. Department of Education and are given every other year in reading and mathematics to students in grades four and eight.

Critics denounced the proposal immediately.

"The whole voucher system is a political thing," said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, a union representing 2.7 million teachers, administrators and others. "If it were, in fact, a true education antidote, it would be available to all children."

Vouchers, Weaver said, "are a ticket to nowhere." Weaver's group believes that the national focus on education should center on teacher quality and smaller class size in all schools. "The research shows that the children in voucher schools don't do any better than the children who are not receiving vouchers. If vouchers were the true savior, then the research would bear that out."

Union officials say that as many as four of five students in Cleveland, and 60 percent of students in Milwaukee who are receiving vouchers, never attended public school. They argue that vouchers subsidize a choice that parents have already made -- the choice to send their child to a private school.

Later in the day, the president was presiding over a Rose Garden re-enlistment ceremony for military service members.

---------------------------------
I would venture to say that we already actually have a three-tiered system of education. There are three promintent tracks and if there's one thing we in education seem to do well, it's track students to mostly predetermined outcomes.


Thoughts?




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Since: 11.7.02
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29

    "The whole voucher system is a political thing," said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, a union representing 2.7 million teachers, administrators and others.

The concept of the President of the NEA bitching about education as a political thing just cracks me up...

(edited by Grimis on 1.7.03 1337)


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Since: 9.12.01
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#3 Posted on
Aren't the NEA the real loser in this proposition? If there is an alternative to union schools in the private sector, they lose their clout.

I'm all for a system where a good teacher can succeed because of their ability. I don't think that good teachers should have to work harder because they inherit students that aren't prepared from the bad teachers that they have had previously.

Maybe tenure isn't such a hot idea. I'm never going to reach a point in the tech industry where I become untouchable. Why is this something that we give to teachers? Was there something other than the NEA behind this idea of tenure?

Can an educator explain the role of the union and tenure, and how it is in the public interest?





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#4 Posted on
Guru--as I work for a private (non-public) school entity, I have never been a member of a union, or had union protection. I don't really get how they help anything, either. Instead of working in unison with superintendents and school boards, they seem to work at odds. I have heard horror stories from public school adminsitrators who were unable to terminate even the most inept teachers due to union pressures. It's quite mind-boggling.



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Since: 2.1.02
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#5 Posted on
FWIW crippling the teacher's union hasn't made one whit of difference in improving the public schools here in Chicago. I don't even know if there is a teacher's union in the city anymore. I do know however that reading and math skills have dropped again.

I personally hope every teacher's union disbands. Because when education systems still show no improvement then the people who have been thus far blaming everything on tenured teachers and corrupt unions will have to look elsewhere for the deeper flaws in the system.



and maybe I should open up my sensitive side/but really, the sensitive side sucks./I've been there./You can only imagine the kinds of sweaters they make you wear.

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Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

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#6 Posted on
As someone attempting to eventually land a tenure-track position (in higher education, however, not elementary or secondary) I am torn. I currently work at a private two-year institution and I can see that there *are* some performance benefits to not offering teachers more job security. You do get "harder" work out of your staff, whatever that may include (unfortunately it doesn't always erquate to *classroom* preparation and performace, which matter most). However, if you ask higher educated, highly talented people (or ANYBODY for that matter) which conditions they would rather work under, they are going to feel much more comfortable and less stressed in a tenured, union position. Who wouldn't? You can make the argument that only with the freedom of tenure can teachers truly educate as they deem appropriate in the classroom without having to worry about administrators constantly on their back checking them out and counting beans. When you're pressured to perform at a certain level (or forced to teach a ton of classes) that some administrator says you should perform at, you may not be giving it your all in the classroom.

Shouldn't we reward those who have sacraficed and achieved a certain level of education in our society with a job that is at least stable and comfortable, if not high paying, so they can concentrate on passing on knowledge and enlightenment to others? Or do we want them to be constantly stressed out about watching their backs like everyone else has to? As strange as it may seem, at my current state I am probably more for unions and tenure than against them.

DMC

(EDIT: I agree with spf that much more is ultimately going on there than unions. My whole argument above assumes that the person going into teaching is there because they are of an academic mind and truly wish to develop in their field and contribute to the world intellectually. This may be the case in higher education, but more often than not it *isn't* true of people going into elementary and secondary education. Unfortunately we have been pushing too many people into college who end up getting degrees and then going on for a 9 month teaching credential because they didn't know what else to do.)

(edited by DMC on 1.7.03 1125)

(edited by DMC on 1.7.03 1129)

One major potential safety deficiency has been repeatedly shouted by critics of the DeLorean. Because it has gull-wing doors, which open up instead of out, they've claimed, you'd be trapped in the car if it should roll over. But as in most cars, the glass in the DeLorean is designed to be kicked out in a emergency.

- Popular Science July 1981
TheCow
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Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

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#7 Posted on
Weaver's group believes that the national focus on education should center on teacher quality and smaller class size in all schools.

To me, at least, that makes the most sense out of anything else in the article. I'll freely admit I was fortunate, at least in high school, to get the higher tracks and the smaller classes, even in public schools. It's a lot nicer when your largest class is only 20 people, when you know people in classes where there's barely enough desks because there's 35 people in one class, one period.

DrOp, I think I understand your remark following the article, but I'm not sure - could you explain that a little better?

As far as unions, I don't know much of them, as I don't think my school system had any when I went through there, but I do remember hearing stories about the Conn. teachers' unions striking most every year back when my mother was going through that system. Don't know if that helps shed any light on the situation, though.

As for tenure... I'm strongly on the fence, leaning against tenure right now. I was under too many completely inept "tenured" teachers to believe that it's a wise idea. (Heck, one of them had been doing whatever she did - I'm still unsure - for years before, and only got reprimanded the year after I had her. She's still there, as far as I know.)

Going back to the point of this, though, while I do believe vouchers are a good idea in theory, I'm not sold that they'll be effective in practice. What's the process for determining which students get the vouchers? Is there a scientific process, or is more of a lottery-based approach? Would the charter schools be able to support a severe increase in enrollment, or would they need more teachers? If so, where would they get them from? (And so on.)







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ges7184
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Since: 7.1.02
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#8 Posted on
    Originally posted by spf2119
    FWIW crippling the teacher's union hasn't made one whit of difference in improving the public schools here in Chicago. I don't even know if there is a teacher's union in the city anymore. I do know however that reading and math skills have dropped again.

    I personally hope every teacher's union disbands. Because when education systems still show no improvement then the people who have been thus far blaming everything on tenured teachers and corrupt unions will have to look elsewhere for the deeper flaws in the system.



I agree with this. While I'm no fan of the idea of "tenure", getting rid of it is not going to be a cure-all to all of education's problems.

I think one side blames everything on teacher quality. And while I'm sure that most systems have a bad apple or two, I think most have a high percentage of teachers who are at least competent, if not good. (that said, their are probably also bad apples within the whole school structure, where whole schools are filled with poorly qualified teachers). Another side will say that problem is lack of funding. Though you can show time and again the school performance will be all over the board, regardless of funding. Once again I think most schools are at least adequately funded, if not well-funded. Sure, there would be some schools that are not properly funded, and probably even some that are over-funded for their size.

But a major contributing problem as I see it is the students themselves, and by extension the parents. I don't care how good a teacher may or may not be, if you have a student who does not want to learn, the result will be exactly the same everytime, poor performance. You can not force education on someone who does not want to receive it. And I think in many cases, students don't care about education because parents don't care about education. I've talked to some parents who are not even sure about what grade their child is in. But this lack of care covers a wide spectrum. There are also parents who do care, care about grades. This is not the same as caring about education. These parents may do homework for their child, these parents are the ones who may go to the teacher and whine about a grade, or go to the school board to argue about grade punishments due to their child getting caught cheating or breaking some other school rule. These are the parents who moan and groan about any curriculum that may actually approach 'challenging'. They don't seem to realize that the point of secondary education is not to ensure that kids qualify for college scholarships, but to teach the kids something so they can live productive lifes, can actually think for themselves, and basically not be idiots. However, due to this mentality, we get grade inflation, as it is better for teachers and administrators to just give grades that keep everyone off thier backs than it is to give an honest evaluation that too many people don't want to hear anyway.

But there's a problem with challenging parents and their children. They vote. And it's not in a politicians best interest to piss off the public. So this will always go unaddressed. (Instead, we will get ridiculous ideas like "no kid left behind". A proper educational system will have failures, I don't care how good it is.)



(edited by ges7184 on 1.7.03 1351)

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DMC
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Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

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#9 Posted on
The problem is that private schools have the same problems with holding to academic standards as the public schools do. After all, "I'm paying for this!" is the attitude of both students and parents, and they feel they deserve an easy ride to a diploma or degree. Complaints lead to a lowering of expectations, because the private schools need to keep people happy due to the fact that they *directly* rely on the "customer's" money. In public schools at least you have a bit of a buffer zone from parents and students to where someone can come in and make a stand for academic excellence.

DMC



One major potential safety deficiency has been repeatedly shouted by critics of the DeLorean. Because it has gull-wing doors, which open up instead of out, they've claimed, you'd be trapped in the car if it should roll over. But as in most cars, the glass in the DeLorean is designed to be kicked out in a emergency.

- Popular Science July 1981
DrOp
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Since: 2.1.02

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#10 Posted on
DMC said:

    Shouldn't we reward those who have sacraficed and achieved a certain level of education in our society with a job that is at least stable and comfortable, if not high paying, so they can concentrate on passing on knowledge and enlightenment to others? Or do we want them to be constantly stressed out about watching their backs like everyone else has to? As strange as it may seem, at my current state I am probably more for unions and tenure than against them.



I don' think anyone should have guarateed job security. the risk of complacency is greater that the instrinsic feeling of security, IMO. If I do my job well and meet expectations, there are already employment protections in place if I am mistreated. I don't earn tenure and don't feel compromised in the least bit.

TheCow said:

    DrOp, I think I understand your remark following the article, but I'm not sure - could you explain that a little better?



In most American cities, we clearly have three tracks of schooling:

1. Private schools, mostly attended by upper middle slass families, that feed into top notch colleges.

2. College preparatory programs (called magnet programs or citywide schools around here) that attract the best public school students and send them off to college, regardless of what neighborhood the students live in.

3. Vocational and remedial programs for students who don't do as well in traditional educational programs (that mostly prepare students for further education).

Students in track one and two go on to get advanced degrees and certifications and usually hold decent jobs and buy nice houses.

Students in track three often get "blue collar" jobs.

Students that can't make it in any track drop out and woe is them.

The problem with tracking is that it is very rare that students can jump from one track to another, especially from Track 3 to Track 2, for instance.



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Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

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#11 Posted on
Shouldn't we reward those who have sacrificed and achieved a certain level of education in our society with a job that is at least stable and comfortable, if not high paying, so they can concentrate on passing on knowledge and enlightenment to others? Or do we want them to be constantly stressed out about watching their backs like everyone else has to?

For the sake of argument, letís say that we should reward those who have achieved a Ďcertain level of education.í What level of education should that be (and in which disciplines)? What kind of job and what salary should we guarantee? What would be the process for making those decisions? Furthermore, letís use my uncle as an example. He received a Ph.D in chemical engineering and decided to work in the private sector rather than in academia. If he were to lose his job, how would you handle that case?

Personally, I donít think anyone deserves a job simply because of his or her level of education; they deserve whatever they can work out through the job market. I think that the vast majority of the professors do an outstanding job. But, as Drop pointed out, they donít deserve the protection because their performance is all the protection they should get. The problem is in the minority of tenured professors that either doesnít care anymore, has gone off the deep end, or whose knowledge has not kept pace with changes within the discipline. Under the current, tenure-based system, there really is not a good way to deal with them. The irony is that as it continues to be more and more difficult to receive tenure, often the (tenured) professors deciding whether or not their younger colleagues should receive tenure, would themselves not receive tenure under the current system.

Lastly, if you are trying to get a job in a four year university, then you should also hate tenure (at least until you acquire it, of course!) because that makes it more difficult for you to find a job in academia by raising the barriers to entry. As a matter of full disclosure, you should also hate someone like me because I teach at a four-year school but as an adjunct faculty member (but with a full-time 'real' job)

MoeGates
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Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
First on vouchers, second on unions, third on "tracks," fourth teachers in general.

Vouchers: The issue really boils down to "should smart kids get a better educations and dumb kids are worse one?" Because private schools can choose to let whoever in they want (unless there's some kind of strings attached to the voucher program), you can bet there's not going to be any dumb voucher kids in these schools. Which leads to public schools doing even worse. There's a million different downward spirals (good teachers aren't going to want to teach only dumb kids, test scores will go down so funding will get pulled) that will only compound this.

I don't know the answer. Already, there's plenty of public high schools where they only take smart kids, for instance. Another point is that it's not just the dumb kids left behind - it's the kids that might be smart, but suffer from a lack of parental involvement or otherwise aren't good students yet, and will never have the chance to find out if they will be someday.

Unions: Anyone who works in the public sector knows that you sacrifice money for job security and benefits. If you get rid of Unions, and the perks and job security they bring, you're going to have to offer more money to attract the same quality of teachers. After all, if you've got a Master's degree, you can probably make more than 32 grand a year(unless, of course, you've got an MSW) in an unsecure job.

The problem is that what teachers are paid are not subject to free-market conditions, they're subject to political conditions, as they involve taxes, which involves elected officials, which involves voters, which means paying teachers more by raising taxes doesn't happen like it would in a free market economy. And if what teachers are paid aren't subject to free-market conditions, their job security, tenure, and other things that are a result of politics rather than free markets, shouldn't be either.

"Tracks." I think schools focus too much on college-prep. There are simply some people that aren't cut out for college, but are good at other things where they can make some dough. For instance, here in New York we have a high school that trains airplane machanics - a pretty decent career for kids who are mechanically inclined but aren't good at analyzing Shakespere. We need a lot more high schools like these, and a lot less kids who graduate high school with no marketable skills, and end up either not going to college or dropping out.

Teachers in general: I think there is a tendency to see teaching as a "last resort" job, and something not so noble. Nobody talks about needing to get rid of the Police or Firefighters unions, even though the job protections for these municipal employees is at least as good as that for teachers. Nobody sees a need to "get rid of" some firefighters, but people obviously do see this need with teachers, for whatever reasons.

My 2 cents is that while you do see some of the "I dunno, I guess I'll teach or whatever" kind of folks among high-school and junior-high teachers, I have yet to meet an elementary school teacher that isn't completely dedicated, routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty, and loves kids. Big shout out to all elementary school teachers, especially Scott Wein-something (I can't believe I forgot his name) of the 4th-grade Eberwhite class!

(edited by MoeGates on 1.7.03 2041)

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TheCow
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Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

Since last post: 4240 days
Last activity: 4240 days
#13 Posted on
DrOp said:

In most American cities, we clearly have three tracks of schooling:

1. Private schools, mostly attended by upper middle class families, that feed into top notch colleges.

2. College preparatory programs (called magnet programs or citywide schools around here) that attract the best public school students and send them off to college, regardless of what neighborhood the students live in.

3. Vocational and remedial programs for students who don't do as well in traditional educational programs (that mostly prepare students for further education).


Okay, maybe I did need clarification. There's a 3-tier program here, but it's a little different from yours:

1. Private schools, like you said.

2. County school system, which probably falls closer to your track 2 than the track 3, although there are some of those in there, as well. A mixed bag, of a sort - there are some bad ones out there - but as a whole, they're a decent public school system. Most of these guys go to some kind of secondary education - 50% or so.

3. City school system. This is, quite frankly, a mess. There's rountinely at least a couple of schools a year that get shut down every year due to not having air conditioning (these are normally elementary schools). Lack of funding, subpar test scores (and in this state, subpar is kind of scary), you name it, it's probably there. The secondary education rate here is probably closer to 25-30%.

As far as I know of, there are only 1 or 2 magnet schools (White Station and Central, I think), and those are only partly. There aren't any voucher schools, and to be honest, I don't see any way there could be any with the way the system is fragmented. A couple of vocational schools might be lying around, but I don't know of them.

Moe said:

I think schools focus too much on college-prep. There are simply some people that aren't cut out for college, but are good at other things where they can make some dough.


All too true, but what I see here is with the 3rd track (and, to a lesser extent, the 2nd) people that won't have the opportunity to learn a trade here if they're not going to make it to college. It's the curse of the system here. Trust me, I understand what you mean, but something I'm afraid has happened here is that people have ceased to care about even the possibility of getting a decent track 3 education. Some do, yes, but as a whole... I don't see it. As for the reasons, I've probably mentioned them a hundred times already (but not here); I don't want to again.







Which Neglected Mario Character Are You?

DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 5266 days
Last activity: 5260 days
#14 Posted on
"Lastly, if you are trying to get a job in a four year university, then you should also hate tenure (at least until you acquire it, of course!) because that makes it more difficult for you to find a job in academia by raising the barriers to entry. As a matter of full disclosure, you should also hate someone like me because I teach at a four-year school but as an adjunct faculty member (but with a full-time 'real' job)"

I do sometimes hate tenure for your first reason, but I would rather put up with the difficulty of having to get my foot into a full-time position than not have tenure still be there when I finally get one. (By the way I am more aiming for community colleges; not being interested in a Ph.D. right now, my options are limited.) I don't hate you because I think that's totally cool, depending on what your "real" job is. (I am thinking of leaving being a library assistant and adjunct instructor for "movie theater usher/adjunct instructor", but that might be a bit too strange if my students started eyeing me picking kiddy-popcorn boxes off the floor.)

DMC




One major potential safety deficiency has been repeatedly shouted by critics of the DeLorean. Because it has gull-wing doors, which open up instead of out, they've claimed, you'd be trapped in the car if it should roll over. But as in most cars, the glass in the DeLorean is designed to be kicked out in a emergency.

- Popular Science July 1981
bash91
Merguez








Since: 2.1.02
From: Bossier City, LA

Since last post: 2589 days
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#15 Posted on

    Originally posted by DMC
    I don't hate you because I think that's totally cool, depending on what your "real" job is. (I am thinking of leaving being a library assistant and adjunct instructor for "movie theater usher/adjunct instructor", but that might be a bit too strange if my students started eyeing me picking kiddy-popcorn boxes off the floor.)

    DMC



I wouldn't be too concerned about being eyed by your students, it only humanizes you. I spent the better part of a year working as a cook and as an adjunct and had the pleasure/misfortune of having two of my coworkers also attend the school at which I was teaching. I also found that it was really easy to get my students to stop bitching about their busy schedules when I reminded them that I was married with two children, worked full-time at Outback, and taught five classes at three different locations for two different schools with a 600 mile a week commute. After that, I really didn't hear much whining about not being able to get their homework done because they were so busy.

Tim



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Corajudo
Frankfurter








Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

Since last post: 1897 days
Last activity: 1400 days
#16 Posted on
I also found that it was really easy to get my students to stop bitching about their busy schedules when I reminded them that I was married with two children, worked full-time at Outback, and taught five classes at three different locations for two different schools with a 600 mile a week commute.

In addition to the tenure thing, that's another problem with the four year school--the way that adjuncts are used (in general). They can hire someone to teach as many or more classes as a full-time professor, pay them a fraction of the salary, offer no benefits and have them share office space with other adjuncts. In fact, Tim was teaching more classes in one semester than the typical 'full-time' professor will teach in an entire year. I'm really lucky in that I teach because I love it and don't have to have the income (although it's not like I turn it down). Also, it's beneficial for the college and for my employer, at least in my particular situation. Having said that, I don't like how colleges use most of the adjuncts and wish it would change.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 5266 days
Last activity: 5260 days
#17 Posted on
By later this month I will be teaching 3 classes at two different schools and working full time. I too think it is ridiculous how adjuncts are basically worked as slaves, but I guess we get something out of it as well (experience, and a little money) so it's not all that bad.

Bash, how on earth you taught *5* classes and worked full-time is beyond me--when (or where) the hell did you sleep?

DMC



One major potential safety deficiency has been repeatedly shouted by critics of the DeLorean. Because it has gull-wing doors, which open up instead of out, they've claimed, you'd be trapped in the car if it should roll over. But as in most cars, the glass in the DeLorean is designed to be kicked out in a emergency.

- Popular Science July 1981
bash91
Merguez








Since: 2.1.02
From: Bossier City, LA

Since last post: 2589 days
Last activity: 447 days
#18 Posted on

    Originally posted by DMC
    Bash, how on earth you taught *5* classes and worked full-time is beyond me--when (or where) the hell did you sleep?

    DMC



I was teaching 4 Intro to Public Speaking sections and a section of Interpersonal Communication so my prep load wasn't all that heavy since I wrote the syllabi for all my sections and made CERTAIN that all my Public Speaking sections were in sync. I was able to do a lot of my grading and prep work the fall semester on Wednesdays during my 5 hour long office hours period. (I was stuck on campus an hour away from home after my first class and had another class an hour in the wrong direction for my second one of the day.) The spring semester I had night classes on both Wednesday and Thursday so I was able to use those days for grading and prep. Additionally, I always knew what my Outback schedule was because of when I taught so I could plan my additional grading and prep time quite easily. All told, I averaged about 6 hours of sleep a night.

If we hadn't moved on very short notice for my wife's career, I was in line to go to a 7-7-3 schedule between the two schools. Yes, I was going to just teach if that had come through. I may be certifiable, but I'm not that stupid!

I'm wondering what it will be like this fall when I go back into the classroom and only have 2 sections. I'm not sure I'll know what to do with all the free time.

Tim



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Whether or not there are actually treasonous ties to Russia within the Trump administration, firing Comey now makes it look like there are, and that this is an attempt at a cover-up. It's the Saturday Night Massacre all over again.
- Chumpstain, Comey Fired (2017)
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