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I can only hope that our lives will improve over the next 8 years. My family has been hit hard by the economy. The President does not have absolute power and I am afraid everyone is a little naive if we think President Obama can make everything all better. I do hope that this current administration will work to cure some of our domestic problems. I am a high school science teacher. I see what is the future of our country. I have taught for 17 years and my students today are so different than 17 years ago. They are different because their world is different. From poverty to gangs I have seen bright young people destroyed physically and emotionally by the issues they face. We need to stop paying lip service to education and truely invest in our future by meeting our children's needs. Education needs an overhaul. Gangs need to be wiped from the face of the earth. If we provide a solid education and positive outlet to young people the situation will take care of itself. It won't happen overnight, but I truely believe it will happen. I encourage you to get involved with our youth. There are some great young people out there, some overtly and others in the shadows. Many of our children have no direction. You have the power to change kids. I get discouraged sometimes. I have been hurt more than once but I won't give up. Perhaps one of the young people you reach will stand before this Great Nation one day and usher in a new era!!! Thanks for the opportunity to share. Peace and Love! Robert "Byrdman" Byrd

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"I can only hope that our lives will improve over the next 8 years. My family has been hit hard by the economy. The President does not have absolute power and I am afraid everyone is a little naive if we think President Obama can make everything all better."

I cannot agree with you more. The only problem I see with that is what you mentioned. A lot of people ARE believing that Obama will make everything better, and quick. By quick I mean what you see on many news channels and in the papers, I keep hearing and reading 2 years before you start noticing anything. Realisticly I think that may be more like 4-8+ years to get out of the hole we are in. One term is 4 years, so what happens when people are not seeing much change within this first term of his? This could be his only term when all of the Obomists flip flop to another candidate in 2012. Who knows, if bush can screw up as bad as he did and stay for 8 years, maybe Obama will stay 2 terms even if he only changes a little. Even a little change could have a big impact.
The science fiction writer Robert Heinlein once said that you never really own anything more than you can carry in your arms at a dead run. That includes what's in your head: Education is not only valuable, it can't be taken away from you. Once you have it, you own it.

I don't think Obama can inherently fix everything, but it's clear that he values education. And I firmly believe that more and better education is the eventual fix to most problems.

As a teacher yourself, what do you think it is that creates such an anti-education attitude in many young people, that just gets in their way their whole lives? It mystifies me because young people, by and large, are curious and want to learn. Somewhere they get turned off by it, think it's childish, or whatever.
Children are not blind to the games that are played by the educational system. To illustrate, testing has created such a mess that students are placed in classes to avoid testing them until they are prepared. Although it may sound like a good idea, these classes are viewed as the slow or dumb classes by the students themselves. I believe this leads to a self fulfilling prophesy that "I am not good enough". Students will then become hardened and view learning as a means to an end. They begin to "just get by" because they believe they can't do better. Some just shut down. Research shows that teacher expectation sets the tone. You have to be honest with the kids, however. They know if you are sincere. Teenagers are going to be teenagers. I think we need to see each student as an individual and not another number in a testing statistic.

Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun said:
The science fiction writer Robert Heinlein once said that you never really own anything more than you can carry in your arms at a dead run. That includes what's in your head: Education is not only valuable, it can't be taken away from you. Once you have it, you own it.

I don't think Obama can inherently fix everything, but it's clear that he values education. And I firmly believe that more and better education is the eventual fix to most problems.

As a teacher yourself, what do you think it is that creates such an anti-education attitude in many young people, that just gets in their way their whole lives? It mystifies me because young people, by and large, are curious and want to learn. Somewhere they get turned off by it, think it's childish, or whatever.
One of the "gangs" that needs to be tamed in this improvement process is the NEA itself. They have been stifling innovation, choice and improving teacher performance with more merit based pay, for example.
I couldn't agree with you more!!!
Chuck Kennedy said:
One of the "gangs" that needs to be tamed in this improvement process is the NEA itself. They have been stifling innovation, choice and improving teacher performance with more merit based pay, for example.
SImply based on your observation that students have changed over the years, it would seem that education techniques would need to be adjusted to keep step, especially since much of the change is technology driven.
Just as in the past, students today have to learn more information than ever, new formats in writing, more history has unfolded, more focus on math and science. Technology has played a huge role in making things happen faster, as well as teachers being able to do things electronically. I found that in high school many things I learned were so outdated once I was in college, some older teachers in high schools can't even use computers as well as the students. Public schools don't always have the best technology due to funding, then once you get into college you have to learn how to do things faster and more efficiently. It seems you have to relearn how to do things, many times on your own because the college professors expect you to know how to do it already. Using databases, gatering information from different shared servers, simple things like Excel for statistics. I believe there needs to be more proficiency testing among teachers rather than students, have teachers make new teaching plans each year instead of using the same one they have for years. Seems it's always the students fault for not doing well, which is true in some cases, but it's hard to learn some of the things on standardized tests when it's not being taught well or at all in the first place. It's nice to know there are good teachers like Byrdman and my step-mom that actually care about their students well being and not just focusing on the A students needs.
You are absolutely right. I am constantly learning something new about technology and how to use it in the classroom. We have been fortunate in that our LEA has made access to technology for the classroom possible. Teaching has become more interactive. We still have a long way to go!!!

Chuck Kennedy said:
SImply based on your observation that students have changed over the years, it would seem that education techniques would need to be adjusted to keep step, especially since much of the change is technology driven.
Way to go Mike. I have always said to my fellow teachers that we are testing the wrong people. Teachers need to be tested. We are constantly learning, it doesn't end.
As much as this next generation is more technically literate, I'm not sure their math abilities have kept pace based on their seeming lack of understanding in the relatively simple math involved in the PDGA ratings system. But then many in my generation still don't understand percentages so maybe I'm expecting too much.
Nothing like getting a test in a class that says ("teachers name here" "subject/class here" "circa 2001 here") how up to date is that information you learned for this test, not to mention the fact the teacher has been teaching the same way for years. As the times change so should the way things are taught.

And yes Chuck, most math now is not done long hand or in your head. My late grandfather worked for NASA on Gemini and Apollo missions, he even got to be one of Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin's men on the ground in mission control for the moon landing. My grandfathers brain was a calculator. We rely way too much on technology to remember things for us now. I remember when I knew all of my friends, and family members phone numbers, now I just look up a name in my cell phone and hit send. Amazing how much technology helps and hinders our memorization abilities.

Byrdman said:
Way to go Mike. I have always said to my fellow teachers that we are testing the wrong people. Teachers need to be tested. We are constantly learning, it doesn't end.
Speaking as a kid in the educational system right now.....I see the following as one of the BIG problems. I'm currently a junior in high school and going back to the second grade I was identified as being....."gifted and talented".....take that to mean whatever you want it to. Anyway, I was pulled out of my regular classes once per week to spend half a day with other kids in my city who also had been identified the same way. We were "challenged" by what was available to us that one day and had to work on projects throughout the week to keep up with that class. This continued through our middle school years.....and has just recently been added (in another form) to our high school classes. One of the problems I see is that teachers have to "teach" to the "middle" in order to TRY to allow everyone to "keep up." This leads to a TREMENDOUS amount of nothing but pure boredom for many. If we truly want our "Best and Brightest" to excel....then perhaps we need to SERIOUSLY look at putting and keeping like talented kids in the same classes. I believe it just may be one way to get the best and most out of everyone....those who catch on to things quickly can be catered to and those who have a little more difficult time can perhaps get the extra help they need. Many many classes have paraprofessionals available to help the main teacher and they could then be used to perhaps tutor those students where the need is greatest. This is all maybe a bit of an over-simplification.....but I hope you can understand what I'm saying.

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