Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Faculty hours

EDITOR:

Recently, my wife and I met with the local high school principal and metal shop teacher to inquire as to why our son’s metal shop class had not had any shop time for several weeks. We were informed that due to vandalism to the shop facilities by the students during class time, the students were no longer allowed to weld or work in the shop. When asked why the shop facilities have not been repaired and the students been given the opportunity to develop their metal shop skills, I was asked by the metal shop teacher “would you work for free?” I then inquired if he would help my son get caught up on his projects if the shop was eventually made operational to which he responded “No, I put in my 8 hours…” The metal shop teacher then pointed to the main high school structure and commented that unlike the classroom teachers, he has put in extra time in the past — but no more.

Like many in the private sector, I work about 60 to 70 hours a week for 48 weeks of the year to generate the taxes to pay the teachers and school administrator’s salaries, benefits and pensions. At my company, my job performance is driven by the results I deliver. Based on the principal’s apparent endorsement of the metal shop teacher’s comments, the faculty at the El Dorado High School District are only to work 40 hours a week for 36 weeks of the year and their evaluations are a function of their intentions.

The California Teachers Association’s death grip on this State has yielded the highest cost to the taxpayer per student in the nation yet produced the lowest test scores. I, for one, refuse to be enslaved any longer and am joining the 3,000 people per week with an average income of $72,000 per year leaving California and moving to another state. The 3,000 people a week moving into California have an average income of $2,000 a year and can pay the State employees’ salaries, early retirement pensions and medical benefits. Oh wait a minute, those people moving into the state don’t pay any taxes; they receive their benefits from the government too.

CHET FRIDAY
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 30 comments

  • Jim RiordanFebruary 08, 2013 - 11:44 am

    My question would be how was the shop "vandalized" while the teacher WAS working the hours. Was he sleeping during class? If you can share with us what the projects are, I may be able to help him finish them up. He might even learn something.

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  • Chet FridayFebruary 09, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    The Metal Shop teacher pointed out to me where the students had slashed the UV protective screens, cut holes in the material seperating the welding booths and damaged some of the shop machine tools. According to my son, the kids are now working in the Shop again but I am not sure what projects they missed while it was shut down. I too offered to help get the students caught up on their projects and even provide some supplies, but the teacher refused to do anything that involved him working outside the timeframe of his assigned work hours.

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 2:20 pm

    (WHEN DID TEACHERS DECIDE NOT TO EXPEND A SINGLE JOULE OF ENERGY BEYOND THAT CONTRACTUALLY REQUIRED?) - In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville came to study America. The Europeans were fascinated. How could a fledgling Nation, barely 50 years old, already be competing with them on virtually every level. He said, let me look at their educational system, and he was blown away. See, anybody who had finished the second grade was completely literate. De Tocqueville could find a mountain man on the outskirts of society who could read the newspaper and have a political discussion, could tell him how the government worked. Today’s college graduates probably couldn’t pass the 1800’s sixth grade exit exam required for the sixth grade certificate. We have dumbed things down. The reason that is so dangerous is because the people who founded this Nation said that our system of government was designed for a well-informed and educated populace. When they become less informed, they become vulnerable. (Dr. Benjamin Carson

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 09, 2013 - 2:22 pm

    PATHETIC!

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt's the deliberate dumbing down of america - HERE

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 2:36 pm

    . . . Hence, we are hypnotized by exorbitantly paid TV talking heads, bought 'n paid for politicians, glitzy entertainment people, lying lobbyists & friends in our own social mileau subject to the same influences. Meet an independent thinker and you've found someone probably with the good sense to keep his mouth shut - most of the time.

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  • CatherineFebruary 09, 2013 - 6:57 pm

    Hold on a minute. Shouldn't the school principal call the parents of the offending students and gather compensation for repairing the shop? If that includes paying for labor, they should pay. Since when can kids screw up the school and not be held accountable? Ragging on the teacher seems a way to avoid parental responsibility. Family values, folks.

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  • Chet FridayFebruary 09, 2013 - 7:44 pm

    Point well taken. I asked the shop teacher if he knew who damaged the shop and why they were not held responsible. The teacher assured me that my son was not involved and although he suspected specific groups of kids - he coulden't identify individuals. The bottom line from my perspective is that (1) the teacher failed to control the class, (2) he would not offer any solutions to address the issues (including helping the kids make up their projects) if it meant him spending any more than 8 hours per day and (3) his statments and position on the issue were supported by the principle.

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 8:32 pm

    "Since when .......?" is a very good question. Yet again I'm reminded of the local history teacher who seemed totally unfazed when stating: "My students don't like to read." Who can blame parents for moving to states where their children can get a decent education.

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  • CatherineFebruary 09, 2013 - 8:41 pm

    The students know who damaged the shop. They are old enough to choose to rat-out the offenders, or suffer the consequences. No teacher should give his time freely after being so disrespected, any more than you or I should. Teachers work within a tight set of rules for controlling a class, and they rely on parents to raise their kids not to be little turds. If the kids don't want to identify their destructive friends, so be it. Teaching is a paid profession, it's not community service. I do volunteer work, but my employer is never allowed to just assume my free time. Maybe this teacher has a family of his own, and he wants to use his free time to raise his own kids. I'm just shocked that "the taxpayers" have to pick up the tab for destructive behavior.

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  • CatherineFebruary 09, 2013 - 8:49 pm

    I educated my son in California and he got a wonderful education. Everyone needs to get off this "teachers are bad and lazy" BS and look at the children teachers are faced with. Then look at the parents of those kids. It's not rocket science.

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 9:04 pm

    It's systemic, not teachers per se. Something has changed.

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 9:14 pm

    HERE it states that California education ranks 43 out of the 50 states. I thought we used to be the best, literally.

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 9:28 pm

    HERE you can check out how any county or high school stands relative to a set of 25 developed countries. In both reading and arithmetic El Dorado County comes in at 31%. Is that OK?

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  • EvelynFebruary 09, 2013 - 9:34 pm

    Catherine: I, too, was educated in California. A long time ago. My teachers were not lazy. My parents were not lazy. Students were held accountable. What Chet Friday reports is, to me, unfathomable.

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  • James E.February 09, 2013 - 11:10 pm

    Just a guess on my part, but think about 20% are serious students and 80% are out there somewhere on cloud 9 just interested in having fun. So, let's not blame the teachers.

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  • Chet FridayFebruary 10, 2013 - 3:17 am

    Both my parents and wife were/are teachers associated with 12-K here in California and I have witnessed firsthand their dedication to their students. I have seen and participated in the afterhours correcting papers at home, the volunteer work at the school, and preparing the lab facilities for the students during weekends and summer months that many teachers give. In addition, I am sure that may of the faculty at the school my son attends still hold these values. That is not the issue. The question we need to ask as taxpayers is how can private schools operate on budgets roughly half of publics schools, yet produce superior results from students from a lower social-economic background? The teacher and administrator's behavior in this case appear to reflect the growing percentage of faculty and administrators in our public schools who are more concerned about their pensions than the kids.

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  • CatherineFebruary 10, 2013 - 6:12 am

    Chet, the private schools simply pay the teachers smaller salaries, and many are able to cherry pick their students, and most, although private, and avail themselves to government money. California has a profoundly more diverse population than most other states, meaning we have kids whose first language isn't English, and this means more hands-on work in the classroom, linguistically and culturally. As you know, teaching is difficult. But I think this shop teacher is setting appropriate boundaries. The teachers I know get a pension that is IN LIEU OF Social Security, so what's wrong with expecting that pension?

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  • CatherineFebruary 10, 2013 - 7:04 am

    Evelyn, that American children in the "best" school districts test in math, for example, at around 75% the level of other developed countries says that other countries value education more than we do. Parents value education. What families with healthy parenting do you know where the kids do poorly in school? Where the kids damage the classroom? It is systemic, but in parenting, not teaching, and it reflects a lack of parental interest in education.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 10, 2013 - 7:32 am

    California used to be one of the best in education--something has changed. Teachers are just following mandates handed down by people who either have never been in a classroom or have not been in one in a very long time. The people I know in education spend hours trying do help our young. Administrators, that I know, are working to help support the teachers. Teachers used to have more say in their own rooms--that is not the case any more. State tests rule--yet in my opinion "bully" the whole system. Teachers are told by state and federal authorities--you must do more (even if the children are not ready cognitively.) Teachers work long hours on curriculum designing and grading--after spending hours in the classroom with the children. Discipline is different--I walked by a principles office one time--where a child was taking down the principles pictures and smashing them...the principle could not do anything--but wait for the police and the parents to show up. Ive been in rooms where kids just throw things--and the teacher has to wait for someone to come help--while getting 30 other kids to calm down. Homework used to be an understood practicing of what one learned in class--to reinforce what was learned. And it used to be enforced at home. I know I did my homework--but I liked to learn. I loved to read. But technology is different now. Children learn differently--visually they put things together faster because of TV and videos. Where other generations pulled pieces together to learn--new generations are seeing information coming at them all at once. I dont know if the education system has caught up to the minds of the young. The talk about textbooks for the younger crowd (upper education is already online) going on-line will isolate them more. If you watch our young--several can be in a crowd--but they are not talking--they are texting. It would save money...no textbooks...just issuing e-readers with apps needed. Is it right or wrong--not sure. I think the internet is wonderful in some ways--isolating in others...I do know it is not going away. Many home schoolers--learn in on-line classrooms. Their parents have them read. They schedule homework time. They take more active time with the learning. However many give up and send their children back into the system. I still believe in the public school system--however our young are much different than us at their age. Teaching must be given back to the teachers...not governed by people who do not work in a classroom full of many personalities.

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  • EvelynFebruary 10, 2013 - 8:10 am

    Thank you, Fran. ********** WHY THE UNITED STATES IS DESTROYING ITS EDUCATION SYSTEM - HERE - A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. … We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating. … Teachers, under assault from every direction, are fleeing the profession. Even before the “reform” blitzkrieg we were losing half of all teachers within five years after they started work—and these were people who spent years in school and many thousands of dollars to become teachers. How does the country expect to retain dignified, trained professionals under the hostility of current conditions? … “In less than a decade we [teachers] have been stripped of autonomy and are increasingly micromanaged.”

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  • EvelynFebruary 10, 2013 - 8:20 am

    "The teachers union that's failing California" - HERE ********** (Posted not because I believe it represents the core of the problem, but rather because it is a piece that should be considered.)

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 10, 2013 - 8:54 am

    There is good and bad in everything. Many years ago (when I was working toward my teaching credential) there was a strike down in Los Angeles. Everyone in the program at my school--was offered a waiver to the credential program (meaning we would be given our credentials, while finishing classes--instead of having to wait until after finishing the classes to get our credentials.) The letter was to get students to cross the strike lines. Our university told us if we did this--that we would be removed from their program. Some took the opportunity. (They needed the money) I chose to ask if I could observe both the state meeting (offering the waiver) and the Union meeting (against the waiver.) At the state meeting--it was as the letter said...if we crossed the line--we could have our credentials right there (and take supplemental classes while working.) I have to say--it was tempting--some took it (from a variety of schools.) I then went to the union meeting. I understood both sides. And realized both sides tainted their arguments--either with gifts or force. Not all union members are bad...but I happen to run into some that were planning to do some really awful things to teachers that may cross lines. Last I spoke with teachers who had crossed the line to go to their classrooms. I spoke with five. Three were sole providers for their children--they had to work. One felt it was unfair to leave their students for weeks. One was young, and felt that they could not yet make a choice--they had not been in the system long enough. After awhile (many weeks) the state and the union came to terms. The people who received their early credentials became scabs--and couldnt find work in the area. Teachers returned to their classes. Students such as myself went back to class. The teachers that crossed the line that I spoke with--kept teaching--except for the young one--they stopped teaching. As a parent I was able to see my child graduate from sixth grade (we had been told not to cross the lines--so I didnt know if I would see her on stage--luckily I didnt have to decide.) It was one of my favorite research projects. And I learned many many things.

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  • EvelynFebruary 10, 2013 - 10:21 am

    Catherine writes: "It is systemic, but in parenting, not teaching, and it reflects a lack of parental interest in education." Like unions, the problem is complex, and I can’t unravel this ball of wax. But I DO know that dramatic changes in past 50 years have profoundly impacted both parents and schools. Start with many families' desperate struggle for economic survival, often leaving them devoid of time and energy (and information) to devote the same attention to their children's needs that my own parents were able to invest. And, in no particular order, some general bulleted points: (1) Burgeoning school administrations, like government generally, reallocate crucial local resources & decision-making; (1) No Child Left Behind, forces teachers to teach to THE TEST, constrains learning and drives out many of the best teachers who can’t stand “the drill”; (2) Education prioritizes corporate needs over individual talent; (3) Political Correctness keeps people from discussing important issues; (4) Vital Information is both denied and corrupted; (5) Athletes, not scholars, are rewarded.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieFebruary 10, 2013 - 10:39 am

    James E. -- I share your cynicism. It *is* true that representatives represent money today, mainly because they have no motivation to represent us. Why? Because we do not have any criteria on which to base our vote other than "electioneering" (thanks Evelyn). If we know a representative is doing a bad job of representing us, no amount electioneering would convince (most) us to vote for them. If a representative was doing a good job, no amount of electioneering would convince us to vote them out. I find it baffling that so many argue so strongly against the simple proposition that our representatives and their constituents should not be ignorant of the will of constituents.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netFebruary 10, 2013 - 10:50 am

    My parents were not around--never met my father-that I can remember. My mother was abusive alcoholic. Teachers inspired me. Debating with other students inspired me. I was a parent that had to work-go to school--be a mom. I was exhausted. Evelyn has presented some very good points. I dont blame teachers or parents--although I have known both that were not putting up any effort. In order for a teacher to be able to inspire their students,they must follow their own intuitions and training. After meeting their students, they have to decide how best to proceed--they can not do this without being in control of their own classes. There is not just one learning modalility in a class--teachers have to evaluate personalities...and the modalities used by each student--then bring it altogether to benefit the whole room. This does not ever fit into one box. Yet government has said they must learn everything standards for each state demand. California is very diverse...sometimes one can find 26 different languages being spoken in a school. All of this is too much. My grandfather learned in a little red school house, with many ages--yet one teacher. However, people believed in education--believed in the teacher. Teachers were in charge. He said he and his friends (although they did chores on farms , and logging--worked in coal mines--they wanted to learn) He said that if you got in trouble at school--no questions asked--you were in trouble at home. His generation created the car, the phone, the airplane, and yes the computer among other wonderful inventions that we still use. What is the answer?

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  • EvelynFebruary 10, 2013 - 11:02 am

    Just THINK what a group of caring, concerned & committed individuals -- sitting around a legitimate debating table -- could achieve if they weren't being Delphied!!! The whole definitely is greater than the sum of the parts. But the "parts" must be able to speak -- and be heard.

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  • Chet FridayFebruary 10, 2013 - 12:04 pm

    My neighbor said it best "It is a pretty sorry state when a teacher can't control his class so the students can do their work. It's even sadder that the administration let's this guy stay."

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  • Jim RiordanFebruary 10, 2013 - 12:17 pm

    Chet, I read all the comments. If this "teacher" were a REAL teacher he would have 1)gone to some of the good guys who knew the kids that did the damage, 2) promise the good guys anonymity,3) keep a close watch on the suspects,(as he should have been doing while the damage was being done) 4) jump in HIMSELF and try and get some local welding shops to pitch in and help with repairs and I know they would, . . . but then that might actually have taken a little extra time and CARE on this "teacher's" part. You know Chet, I guess he did teach the students something. He taught them he cares more about a couple of hours of his seemingly worthless time (since he cannot control what happens under his nose) than he does about the rest of the good students learning. I and you offered our time to help at no cost but this jerk does not care enough about his kids to help them. Further, teachers and principals are salaried are they not? Their salaries are plenty large enough to justify a little "overtime" for their kids. I think this worthless teacher and his worthless principal should be kicked through the goal posts of life and sent packing.

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  • CatherineFebruary 10, 2013 - 2:50 pm

    Kids damage shop, parents blame teacher for learning time lost. What does this teach children? And Mr. Riordan, aren't you the guy who called the fellow named Jose, Hose-A? And now the teacher should be "kicked through the goal posts of life" (which actually makes no sense, or would be a positive thing, I can't quite tell). The offending kids lack respect. I wonder why.

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