Friday, August 2, 2013

PPS online forum

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New post - From today's Post-Gazette:


Questioner said...

PPS can also find lots of good ideas in the PURE online forum, going back 5 years.

Anonymous said...

How much is Voices Ideas Vision Action (VIVA) costing us? When did the board/broad approve it?

Anonymous said...

Good question,3:32!
It would seem that the moderator who responds to the entries must be paid, even though he does not appear to have authority or autonomy. Responding to every entry and accumulating comments for District review and approval requires time, more than would ordinarily be available to someone who works.

Questioner said...

The amount of time will depend on the number of comments but it shouldn't take too long. It could be part of the duties of a regular employee.

Anonymous said...

Most boards that require you to register to comment at least allow others to read -- just not to comment themselves.

Interesting that these require you to sign up to see more than the first sentence or two. Good to see some brave teachers already signing up. Here's hoping there aren't consequences via RISE if you comment the "wrong way." :-(

Anonymous said...

This may be another way to keep the shareholders- parents, students, teachers, the general public- believing that their opinions matter and their voices heard- when, in fact, it really is a familiar method of keeping those voices and opinions at bay.

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting the article referred to Chicago which is now closing dozens of schools and they had a big strike since 2011.

Anonymous said...

5:26 - You are exactly right, unfortunately, the favorite ploy of PPS CO is to invest a few minutes in any meeting or email and then claim to have fully engaged with the community, parents, whoever; yet, NEVER, is there any evidence at all that there was follow-up on behalf of those who stepped up or voiced a concern. PPS is all facade, sadly.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This is another Gates Foundation Funded Initiative. Also, the Religious Leaders that came together for support of effective schools....$75,000 seed money given to create that non-profit "Shepherding the Next Generation" by guess who? You got it Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Follow the money trail they are influencing all major outlets. Media, Community, Blogs, and now Religion to push their agenda through all while the public just blindly follows. It's sickening that religious leaders are now jumping on their bandwagon. Money talks and people blindly listen!

Anonymous said...

6:56 i thought the exact same thing. Chicago is hosed and they have a strong union leader and a fake democract Mayor. Another consultant.

Questioner said...

From the pg article, "stay the course"- that sounds familiar...

Anonymous said...

It surprises me that the clergy group accepted the money from Gates. I would think several other worldwide initiatives supported by the Gates Foundation would be in conflict with religious principles and doctrine.

Anonymous said...

9:29: "It surprises me that the clergy group accepted the money from Gates."

Back in the early 1900's, many churches in the Pittsburgh area took donations from Andrew Carnegie.

But there was a string attached. The pastors were not to criticize the seven-day work week (a Carnegie mill laborer typically worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week).

That's something to think about the next time you read about how wonderful Andrew Carnegie was.

Anyway, many churches accepted Carnegie's deal.

Just like today. So I guess some things never change. Big money trumps ideals.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone following the VIVA forum?

Can you believe how close it is to the beginning of the school year?

Anonymous said...

Pg should ask if any of these teachers participated in the vision to let them go

Questioner said...

But could this teacher have functioned in the same way at a Pps?

Anonymous said...

No one can stop a great teacher from being effective, no one! Nor would ANYONE want to stop them!

Anonymous said...

Sorry 7:40-- many great teachers have left, PPS or worse the one who are left are GAGGED into a script-- good teachers who want to work and have been effective and in some cases will be again-- in another district. The BEST teachers I have ever seen are in PPS, and they are often scooped up by suburbs- where teacher tonight are planning exciting activities for back-to-school.

Anonymous said...

No one from central office can monitor all teachers simultaneously--can't even come close.

So, only a very few are GAGGED into a script, momentarily or temporarily, until CO, admin or 'scriptors' exit the room or building. The results will always speak for what teachers do in the classroom. So what is the portion of time that teachers are GAGGED?
Comparatively speaking, it is miniscule; but, is it a good excuse for poor student performance when it happens less than 1% of teaching and learning time in classrooms.

The results will always speak for what teachers do in the classroom 99% of the time.

Anonymous said...

8:47: What stops urban teachers, tonight, from planning exciting activities for back-to-school?????

Anonymous said...

You know what, 9:07? If you're in a classroom and doing what you advocate, hey, more power to you. But, I'm 100% sure that you are not. Because, if you were, you'd know that you can't just "switch" back and forth like that in this scripted era. Teachers don't make their own tests, there are CBAs. There are rubrics for grading papers. You're totally out of date with your notions. They just don't work with RISE, and with this administration.

Even in schools with the most leeway (because they already have high test scores), teachers are very constrained.

Teachers who attempt the kinds of things you are talking about are the ones first targeted (usually because they have the most experience and are the most costly). They are replaced with teachers who don't even know better.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with 9:19--Dear 9:07-- you havent a clue-- The whole point of any SCRIPT on any stage is that the actors perform on cue-- the STUDENTS are questioned as well in the observation. They must learn their role in the "turn and talk" dance--this takes time and work--and yes the good teachers have tried to continue to teach "the stuff" we know students need to know-- but yes, 9:19 is correct-- these teachers get caught in the "gotcha" of this world- remember- principals can roam in with the laptop at any moment-- better be on script. I have witnessed at the beginning of the year-- "walk-ons" cause you definitely feel walked on!-- where the observers concluded that the instructor talked too much-- during the assigning seats, establishing procedures-- all the things educators used to think got school off t o a good start. And 8:47- no point to planning-- teachers walk in and are handed the charts etc that MUST be on the walls-walk into a school where every room is exactly the same, every door is the same-- Is this school as you remembered it?

Anonymous said...

9:07 is always an apologist and has been for years. Her "solutions" always come down to the teacher bucking the rules, sticking his neck out and doing what is ethically right for the kids. In her little world, no one is watching so why not?
Problem is, she lives in la la land.
Teachers are more monitored than ever.
Students now even have the methods to effectively get rid of teachers.
Now, with the new 'cut off' rating idea, even more teachers will be let go next summer...but some 700+ administrators will continue to be employed even if they have little to do with student achievement.
But hey, that's fine to the parent. She could care less. To her, the lack of achievement has nothing to do with the intimidation of Lane and her goons, nor does it have anything to do with poor curriculum. To her, it's all about teachers. It's all about the poverty kids go through.

And hey, it's never about poor parenting.

Anonymous said...

9:07, you asked what is the portion of time that teachers are gagged.

Sadly, it's close to 100%. I'll explain.

Let's say you're a science teacher, and your lesson for today is how to balance a chemical equation.

You know in your heart, from years of experience, that the best way to teach this topic is to first give the whole class the balancing rules. Then guide the class through some carefully chosen examples.

And to catch their attention, you might even want to demonstrate a typical chemical reaction.

Only after the students have grasped the basics would you allow them to work individually or in small groups.

But you cannot do that in today's PPS! You must follow the scripted lesson plan exactly.

And that lesson plan would tell you to START the class by dividing the class into small groups. Each group would then have to "discover" the rules for balancing equations on their own.

The teacher cannot even pick what problems to give the students! You would normally want to start with a very easy example, and then build from there.

But if the script tells you that you must start with a medium or even a hard problem, that is what you must do.

This leads to student errors, and frustration. It is not a healthy way to learn.

So why do I say that teachers are gagged close to 100% of the time? It's because a teacher never knows when he/she is going to be observed.

And when the observers come in, they will have the script for that day's lesson.

The teacher had better be on that day's lesson, doing exactly what the script says.

If the script tells you that the students must start with a hard problem, then the oberservers will be expecting to see that problem.

And if the script does not call for a demonstration, you had better not be doing a demonstration.

By the way, I'm not kidding about that. A fellow teacher of mine was once reprimanded for doing a simple yet effective density demonstration. Why? Because it was not in the script.

So, yes, because of the random nature of the observations, the gagging is close to 100%.

Teachers can take the risk and go off-script. But you had better not get caught.

But you sooner or later you will get caught. Get caught once, and you'll be warned. Even humiliated. Get caught again, and you're well on the way to being fired.

And please do not criticize teachers for not wanting to take that risk. Because taking that risk does not help the students.

That's because a bold, effective teacher who has been fired can help no one.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 12:45- this is the total truth of the PPS situation. This is what your teachers are thinking as they return. Parents, please see -- the Broad/Gates money is working hard to keep teachers in this state of misery. Please if there is a parent who sees the last 7 years as better for students--put it here and explain it. Tell us all how students are stronger, brighter and more proficient during these years. This is why teachers are sickened over this-- year after year, if you "follow the script" and do as you are told, students arent doing better. In the past, when there were curriculum changes, after testing--we reviewed what worked, and what didn't ! Now, we just hear --more group work, and maybe you arent keeping those groups discussing the topic-- well gee, how long would you sit and discuss what you havent been taught?

Questioner said...

Where did this group idea come from and why is Pps so keen on it? If it really worked so well wouldn't the private schools and the colleges be doing the same?

Anonymous said...

12:45 you make me sick because I BELIEVE every word you say. I used to encourage other parents to get on this site and read every post they can. No more. Parents are too passive and I will now direct every kid who might be willing to get active and be the change to stand up and ask for better than they are currently getting.

Anonymous said...

It's hopeless, 4:47. The Roosevelt Playbook is clear: let people complain and it will all go away in short order. Then, we'll do what we want anyway.....because the anger will fade and people will forget.

Teachers are doomed and to an equal are your students.

Maybe Lane and Lippert--two people with negligible success in the classroom, at best---can teach them.
The average parent won't care, as long as there is Promise money at the end.

Anonymous said...

Money, money, money. Follow the money. Its all about the money. Right 6:47? For teachers and for parents.

Anonymous said...

Questioner, 12:45 here.

To answer your 4:18 question, the "group idea" came from educational research. Studies have shown that grouping develops advanced thinking skills.

That's why PPS is so keen on it.

But wait!

Most educational research is so flawed as to be worthless. Most educational studies are so flawed as to be worthless.

Consider research in science. Research there tends to be in close agreement. For example, if scientific research at one university finds the mass of a carbon atom to be 12.01 units, you can expect research at another university to report close to the same value.

Repeatable results is what makes research reliable.

But that's not true in educational research!

One report will say that grouping always develops advanced thinking skills. The next report will say that grouping never develops advanced thinking skills.

A third report will contradict the first two, and say grouping is definitely of value in some subjects, but is definitely counterproductive in others.

The PPS leaders, and Gates, have simply latched on to the grouping-is-always-good research.

So if educational research cannot be trusted, how is one to know which teaching methods are best?

It is as you said, Questioner. Just look at the private schools and the colleges.

Those schools allow their teachers some freedom. Teachers can choose different approaches for different lessons, and for different students.

But the PPS leaders have invested too much of their personal reputations in the current, rigid, method. No modifications will be allowed.

Anonymous said...

I agree- 8:29 There is much talk at the university level about ACADEMIC FREEDOM! This concept is totally lost on PPS-- No one told me how to teach the university courses I teach-- no one assumes when a student is struggling that -oh my, it must be the professor!
I think teachers really do care-- so when our students struggled, we were willing to try anything. Sadly these venture philanthropists took advance of their love of teaching and now the art of teaching has been killed in PPS.

Anonymous said...

Tell me, 7:57, where is the money for teachers? I haven't received a raise commensurate with cost of living during the past two contracts. Where is that money, pray tell?
Perhaps your issue is that teacher are overpaid. We work 9-3, right? We have three months off, right?
You are living in la la land, friend.
I am extremely underpaid and will not allow any member of my family to ever go into education, especially with so many ungrateful members of the public like yourself out there.
Go to school, get your degree and make big bucks. NEVER dedicate yourself to helping those whom society has abandoned. NEVER. Especially with comments like yours all over the web.
Why don't you teach, friend?

Anonymous said...

It seems like PURE was brand new when I wrote about how much I saw teachers spending their own money at a book fair to stock their elementary classroom libraries. I wonder if any teacher ever took the time to keep an accounting of just one year's worth of out-of-pocket expenses? Cruise through some school parking lots and see how many cars remain well after the bell rings for the end of day or how many teachers get in early to be sure the day starts smoothly. I have been a volunteer long enough to know teaching is the noblest of professions. We need to end any debate about overpaid/underworked right now. Those who know better won't participate and if others do. they are uninformed and off-base.

Anonymous said...

I love how the Pure Reform website gets more action than the $2+ million visioning website.

Pure has robust content, including the "how we got series" that is really a roadmap on what to unwind to get the district pointed back in the right direction.

Kudos Q for your years of effort here.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The PPS Forum separates the community and the educators- a recipe for unfocused topics and a philosophical divide.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, 11:33, it prohibits any educator, except PPS, to even submit a post to the forum.

It categorically prohibits educators from anywhere in the city to contribute ideas AS EDUCATORS!

It simply reinforces what we all know, PPS Central Office shuts out and shuts down anyone who may have insight, information, experience, expertise, innovations, reforms, research, etc. that counters the PPS current regime and their Broad Fdn, Gates Fdn highly-paid network.

The inside stories with concrete evidence are unbelievable!

Is it the millions being made on keeping urban kids uneducated really worth it in the long run??? Think about it! Then rise to the challenge!