Passed 21 to 14 in the Senate on December 1, 2010, to require schools to rate teachers as "effective" or "ineffective," with at least 45 percent of the rating based on student performance, and require these ratings be used for teacher tenure decisions.
View All of House Bill 4410: History, Amendments & Comments
The vote was 21 in favor, 14 against, and 2 not voting.
(Senate Roll Call 581)
Remove Algebra II from high school graduation requirements
|Allen (R)||Birkholz (R)||Bishop (R)||Brown (R)||Cassis (R)|
|Cropsey (R)||Garcia (R)||George (R)||Gilbert (R)||Hardiman (R)|
|Jansen (R)||Kahn (R)||Kuipers (R)||McManus (R)||Nofs (R)|
|Pappageorge (R)||Patterson (R)||Richardville (R)||Sanborn (R)||Stamas (R)|
|Van Woerkom (R)|
|Anderson (D)||Barcia (D)||Basham (D)||Brater (D)||Clark-Coleman (D)|
|Gleason (D)||Hunter (D)||Jacobs (D)||Olshove (D)||Prusi (D)|
|Scott (D)||Switalski (D)||Whitmer (D)|
SENATE LEGISLATORS WHO DID NOT VOTE
|Clarke (D)||Thomas (D)|
SENATE LEGISLATORS ALL VOTES
|Y Allen (R)||n Anderson (D)||n Barcia (D)||n Basham (D)||Y Birkholz (R)|
|Y Bishop (R)||n Brater (D)||Y Brown (R)||Y Cassis (R)||n Clark-Coleman (D)|
|- Clarke (D)||Y Cropsey (R)||Y Garcia (R)||Y George (R)||Y Gilbert (R)|
|n Gleason (D)||Y Hardiman (R)||n Hunter (D)||n Jacobs (D)||Y Jansen (R)|
|n Jelinek (R)||Y Kahn (R)||Y Kuipers (R)||Y McManus (R)||Y Nofs (R)|
|n Olshove (D)||Y Pappageorge (R)||Y Patterson (R)||n Prusi (D)||Y Richardville (R)|
|Y Sanborn (R)||n Scott (D)||Y Stamas (R)||n Switalski (D)||- Thomas (D)|
|Y Van Woerkom (R)||n Whitmer (D)|
Senate Roll Call 581 on 2009 House Bill 4410
The more I read our back and forth, the more I think we agree on the goals of school, and less so on the means to get there. In case you haven't guessed by now, I'm a teacher. I worked for 12 years as a high school resource room teacher, and four years ago made the move to elementary (My god! These children are all smiling!).
During my first year in the land of the little people, I taught basic trigonometry to "impaired" 5th graders. It wasn't particularly difficult. They picked it up quickly, practiced a little bit each day, and most became competent with basic sine, cosine, and tangent operations. And none of it was compulsory. You can have rigor and high achievement without relying on coercion. Human curiosity and the desire for competence are powerful motivators in themselves. Sometimes teachers just need to get out of the way, something the current curriculum and test-mania seldom allows us to do.
I'm here at Ground Zero, where I get to experience with my students the effects of these periodic legislative carpet bombings, few of which are based on research, but rather on some political/economic agenda. Most people think the Algebra 2 requirement was based on research, but it was not, as I explained earlier. NCLB is simply the application of the tenets of Total Quality Management (a manufacturing model meant to efficiently produce cars, hair dryers, toys, etc.) to education. Apparently, sometime in the late '90s someone in California thought, "Hey, educating a child is no different than building a good toaster." It originally invaded schools as Outcomes-Based Education but was beaten back by parents concerned about the many "character" outcomes to be targeted (some silly notion about character being an issue for families and communities). Nonplussed, the proponents of OBE retreated, retooled, and returned. Outcomes are now (and ya gotta love this) grade-level-content-expectations. This time it was pitched to legislators, because they can be fooled and/or bought more easily than parents. Voila! NCLB arrives, complete with carrots (for parents) and sticks (for schools).
When you are relying on coercion, in the form of rewards or punishments, it's a sure sign you are "schooling" children rather than educating them. It's no different than teaching your dog to sit in that It's an attempt to control behavior. I'm much more interested in educating, which is equipping young people with the tools to evaluate and be successful in any situation in which they find themselves. Freethinker mentioned something about reading comprehension, math skills, etc. that was right on the mark.
But lets consider lightening up on the coercion and compulsion. I work with children. Not dogs. Not toasters. I want my children to be educated, not schooled, and I want that for all children, not just the wealthy ones.
It's late. I'm tired. Goodnight all.
An anecdote: My oldest grandchild graduated from high school a few years ago, honor roll student. She is presently in nursing school at a community college. In her first year out of high school, she was having some financial difficulties and asked for my advice. Seems she was constantly over drawing her checking account. Through discussions with her I discovered she didn't know how to balance her checkbook. She's not stupid, (no one's grandkids are) and once I showed her how, she took to it with ease.[/quote]
Surely this simple training did not take enough time to constitute a semester or year's worth of high school math coursework.
That is my concern with this "financial literacy" bunkum. Beyond knowing how to balance a checkbook, how much does a person really need to know, and how much instruction does it really take to impart that knowledge? My guess is, not much. I don't question that the checkbook balancing lesson is worthwhile, but there is no good reason it -- and a few other fundamental "financial literacy" concepts -- can't be explored very well in the current array of required courses. Many of the "skills" involved are only practical applications of the principles explored and learned through the study of algebra, for example.
An old time description of what education best does for the individual (and by extension, society) is to give one the tools for learning -- that is, the tools to acquire information one needs to get on with and succeed in his or her life. In other words, one becomes educated when he or she has learned how to learn. Reading with real comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving skills and approaches, and capacity to identify and query information sources are more valuable in the long run than learning specific task skills and a raft of definitions or concepts by rote. The discipline of academically rigorous study is what sharpens the learning skills. That is why rigor in the high school curriculum should be maintained.
[quote user="FreeSpeaker"]In American pubic school education -- especially at the high school level -- we have, in one way or another, carried on a steamy affair with "student-directed" curriculum for 50 years. [/quote]
An anecdote: My oldest grandchild graduated from high school a few years ago, honor roll student. She is presently in nursing school at a community college. In her first year out of high school, she was having some financial difficulties and asked for my advice. Seems she was constantly over drawing her checking account. Through discussions with her I discovered she didn't know how to balance her checkbook. She's not stupid, (no one's grandkids are) and once I showed her how, she took to it with ease.
My point is, I agree with FreeSpeaker and disagree with swbaker in that we should maintain high standards for high school graduation not based on what the children can do, but what they need to do to go on to high education in some form, whether a trade, the arts, or business. I still support this bill if it limits the standards changes to making a personal finance class optional to Algebra II. Again, being wary of the slippery slope.
I share swbaker's concern with the involvement of the corporate world in our children's education, but let's face it, not everyone is destined to be artists or entrepreneurs. Most of our children will have to make a living working for a corporation. We need to give them the skills the corporations require, along with, of course, the freedon of their minds to develop along more ethereal lines.