#ncga: Senator Berger PREACHES IT.

philbThe state Senate’s big kahuna went in front of the biggest, most-prominent Common Core-loving, spend-more-and-more-and-more money crowd and told them a few things I am SURE they didn’t want to hear: 

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger made blunt remarks about public school reform at a recent gathering held by Best NC, a business-backed education advocacy group.

He suggested “scrapping schools of education” and likened investing in teacher assistants to investing in manual typewriters.

“The stakes are too high to be risk and conflict adverse when it comes to education policy,” he argued. [..]

Right on, right on.  Okay, Mr. President pro tem.  Tell us some more:

[…] Berger explained the state should either try to improve the programs that aren’t working or no longer invest in them. He pointed to the UNC schools of education as an example.

“[They] need to do a better job of preparing teachers for the classroom,” he said. “We either need to fix our schools of education in North Carolina or scrap them in favor of new, different approaches to teacher preparation.”

Berger also talked about cutting back on teacher assistants. This year, the senate budget called for cutting thousands of teacher assistant positions – up to 8,59745623500 by some estimates – in favor of smaller class sizes.

After long negotiations, the final spending plan kept money for TAs intact. Still, Berger argues that TAs don’t have a meaningful impact on student performance.

“We will spend almost $400 million on TAs next year,” he said. “I equate it to an office supply business that chooses to continue to invest in manual typewriters.” […] 

He is so right on Schools of Education.  Those are nothing more than leftist indoctrination centers.  Rarely do you have new teachers graduating from college with some expertise in a teachable subject.  Education Schools on our university campus focus on all kinds of liberal gobbledy-gook like diversity, self-esteem, and feelings. (The last time I checked exactly NONE OF THAT will get students into college or qualify them for a productive, paying career.)  Want to teach math?  Get a math degree. 

It’s troubling to have folks teaching K-12 without actually specializing in the subject matter they teach.  Teaching these days — after all of the red tape administrative crap is done — is a whole lot of leaning on the answers in the textbook’s teachers manual. 

I have a friend who took an early retirement from a major international accounting firm.  He wanted to teach high school math.  He got turned down by the local school system.  He didn’t have an education degree or “certification.”  *Never mind his TWO masters degrees and over two decades as a leader in the world of high finance.*

And teacher assistants?  To listen to the media — and some of the whiners in the linked story — teacher assistants are absolutely vital to educating our kids.  Listen to this — likely — education degree holder:

“Manual typewriters don’t give hugs, dry tears, work one on one with struggling students, run copies, relieve teachers for whatever reason,” wrote Heather Robbins.

Nope. Giving hugs, drying tears and helping students with homework IS A PARENT’S JOB.  Unfortunately, way too many alleged grownups have surrendered parenting duties to the local DSS, law enforcement agencies, and the public schools.  In my early school years, we had parents and grandparents (and the occasional student teacher) helping out in the classrpboom. 

Albert Einstein taught us that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.  Public education, for far too long, has involved pouring a lot of money into a tried-and-not-so-true process that has been steadily failing our kids.  Berger is right.  In business, when things aren’t working well, you make adjustments to right the ship.  Why not in public education? 

16 thoughts on “#ncga: Senator Berger PREACHES IT.

  1. Berger’s statements reveal nothing but bias about our education system. Sure you need expertise in what you are going to teach and our Universities do educate teachers on their subjects. To believe one can step from a high position in a field into the classroom as you suggest is fantasy. Teaching is a skill, especially when the teacher has a room full of young minds from a broad spectrum of backgrounds (family, experience, financial, technological, etc.). As for teacher assistants, as class sizes get larger the additional support (in a variety of ways) that an assistant provides a teacher makes a huge difference in classroom order and success. Berger’s and the author’s broad brush – broadside attack on the education system is just red meat to many on this site. Can we improve our education system, sure we can. Do we do that by belittling those who work hard to make a positive impact on children’s lives? Absolutely NOT.

    I also don’t appreciate the constant attacks on manual typewriters.

    1. Well, I know plenty of teachers who wish they did not even have assistants. Assistants often distract teachers with their constant complaining, jealousy, and inferior complex issues. This is a huge problem in poorer districts. I know of one county school where all 4 assistants went out on permanent disability for slip and falls in the lunch room. Not to mention the fact they were all related to one another and 300 pounds plus!

    2. Your statements also indicate bias toward the status quo. If a majority of high school graduates must take remedial courses in college, can’t write a coherent letter, and can’t read beyond a sixth grade level, then the system we have now is not working. It’s time to fix what is broken!

      1. You should read to the end of my first paragraph before you make the claim of my bias. Here it is for you to make it easy; “Can we improve our education system, sure we can. Do we do that by belittling those who work hard to make a positive impact on children’s lives? Absolutely NOT.”
        I also think that with the number of social media/internet distractions that students have today, it is no wonder that student performance declines.

  2. What we are doing in education sure isn’t working. Our education system used to know how to educate kids, but now it is all about social crap and indoctrination. We need to fire all the experts and administrators, which is where most of the waste education is.

  3. Vouchers vouchers vouchers give parents the choice and the extra competition in the market place should lower costs and the burden on the state.

    Plus it would get rid of all the county boards of education since all decisions would be up to each local school

    1. Plus, school choice is a great wedge issue with constituencies that we’ve been wanting to connect with for a long time.

  4. I volunteered to be a teachers assistant for any school in Cary. I went and filled out the paper work and never heard back from them. I have a BS degree in Management Science (lots of math and statistics) from Clarkson University and a MS in Decision Support System from the University of Texas at Arlington. I was also an instructor Air Weapons Controller in the Air Force. I would have worked for $0.00. I figure it’s the kids loss.

  5. First of all, let me be clear on this. My brother was a teacher, before he became a US Navy Officer. One of my best friends I grew up with was a career teacher.
    Both of them agree that “competent” teachers do not need “teacher’s assistants”!
    “Manual typewriters don’t give hugs, dry tears, work one on one with struggling students, run copies, relieve teachers for whatever reason,” wrote Heather Robbins.
    Awwww, tootsie-foo-foo! My take on that statement is that Teacher’s Assistants are needed to take the place of incompetent teachers and increasingly un-involved parents. The teacher’s unions have the “herd mentality”, which preserves and protects the most inefficient and incompetent among them. (What is also conveniently not mentioned is the increasing numbers of Illegal Alien children who can’t speak English – which, (last I checked) was our national language. I know, I’m a damned racist.
    And (we are told) the schools need more (and more) money, if our children are to be educated properly.
    The result? High School graduates who can’t read their diplomas, are unable to do basic math computations, can’t find Egypt on a global map, and think Abraham Lincoln is a new hip clothing store at the mall!
    Hell, no matter! If they attended the “It’s OK to be LGBT” classes, didn’t wear any patriotic clothing to school, agreed to eliminate “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and (oh yes) get in line for their free condoms, they are given a diploma. The fact that they are unable to read, write or count is irrelevant.

  6. The one thing that might not occur to some is that Teachers Assistants serve as referees often providing the much needed restraint to over-medicated children that frequently disrupt class due to the complete lack of discipline at home.

    Parents turn these whirlwinds of destruction over the schools each day with little concern over havoc they reek in the classroom.

    Lets be real Senator Berger, the state needs to address school discipline and lack thereof.

  7. Radagast, English is the most used language
    in this country that we call ours , HOWEVER, there is nothing official about it. That’s right!!!! Last time I checked America has NO OFFICIAL language. Almost unbelievable isn’t it?

    Dare, Beaufort and one other county (forget) in N C addressed this by adopting or passing resolutions to express English as their official language a few years back. Good for them.

  8. Just ask ANY teacher about the latest time-killing travesty called “AIMSweb”- testing for progress monitoring. My wife (also a teacher) has described teachers with a 6″ stack of paper which must be manually entered into an online database for each class. Yet again, mainly for political reasons, we have DUMPED GARBAGE onto classroom teachers in a way that makes them into overloaded bean-counters instead of teachers. This, to me, is at the heart of why so many leave the profession- administrivia overhead that is unnecessary and unwarranted! This system of giving each school a letter grade based 80% on conformance to standards and 20% on growth is also IMHO part of the problem. It might make sense – and be just as useful – if those percentages were reversed. NO teacher can control the mix of kids that come into her class at the start of the school year. The ones with zero homelife soak up an extraordinary amount of time such that the average and brilliant kids get little attention. Yet we expect teachers to adapt to each kid’s preferred method of learning! Then add Common Core foolishness on top of it all, and this looks to me like a recipe for system-wide failure.

  9. “The one thing that might not occur to some is that Teachers Assistants serve as referees often providing the much needed restraint to over-medicated children that frequently disrupt class due to the complete lack of discipline at home.”
    Great Point! They are currently trying that with my oldest grandson. He’s too “rambunctious”, and acts too much like a healthy, heterosexual male child (or so they say). They school weenies want to medicate him for the crime of “being male”.
    Now, if my seven year old grandson announced that he was a “trans-gender” sissy boy, and wanted to use the girl’s bathroom, that would be adjudged to be “normal behavior”, no medication required.
    Fortunately, he does have a father and discipline at home (plus, Papaw won’t give him his allowance, if he’s not good). So my daughter told them to “pound salt” (you know where). My Little Buddy made The Honor Role this term!
    When I went to school, the old saying was: “Don’t stand in the doorway at the closing bell, you’ll get run over by the students!”
    Today, the saying is: “Don’t stand in the doorway at the closing bell, you’ll get run over by the teachers!”
    Browny, you have a good point, sir. While never declared to be the “official language” of the USA, English is the “lingua franca” (the adopted language), or as William Shakespeare would say: The “Common Speech”.

  10. Berger is correct on the teaching schools. They need bolstering and the days when teachers had a specialty need to return.

    Having said that, perhaps he and the rest of the NCGA should look at what a train wreck the politically charged Teach for America is and stop subsidizing them by the millions.

    On teaching assistants, I wish Berger had been more specific. When it come to Kindergarten and 1st grade, there is a value to having one in the room. Having volunteered in my child’s classrooms, I saw that usefulness in those grades. The average class size is over 20 students and crowd control for those in K and 1st grade is part of the package. Beyond those two grades, not so much.

    By the same token, if NC were to over time reduced the positions for TA’s and increased the number of full time teaching positions, perhaps class sizes could then drop. This would curb the need for TA’s, however unlikely it would remove the need entirely.

  11. I researched Teach For America. It encourages graduates from teacher’s colleges to spend at least two years teaching in minority communities. The accusation that they are “politically charged” is that they encourage “conservative” (Oh My!) principles in minority and underprivileged communities. .
    Hard work, rugged individualism, and don’t be satisfied with halfway up the mountain, climb for the top!
    Of course, this is an anathema to Hussein Obama, the black Poverty Pimps, and the “Blame America First” crowd. “America is evil, America should be down-sized, America is racist, and you don’t have a chance, because the white plantation owners will keep you picking cotton…..and, did I mention, America is racist?!”
    As President Hussein’s favorite pastor said, time and time again: “God Damn America!”.
    Bottom line, it’s time to get back to the basics: “readin’, writin’ & rithmetic”. Shit can the “It’s OK to be gay” classes, the “Black Studies” classes (see above), and the free condom handouts.
    Maybe then, we could get high school graduates who can actually READ their diplomas!.

  12. Common Core is a cancer that must be eliminated as soon as possible before more damage is done to our most precious resource: our dear children. No standards at all would be better than standards that are based on collectivism, misinformation and promote anti-American history and ideals. Parents, talk to you school boards. Voters, there is a powerful alternative to the current Pink Palace princess. Vote and support Dr. Rosemary Stein in November 2016.

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