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Why Do School Boards Reward Bad Behavior?

January 7, 2014

To The Reader’s Forum: I have to wonder what our school boards are thinking and who are they really representing when they are negotiating salaries and terms for teachers and administrators....

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(48)

Regelski

Jan-25-14 1:22 PM

On a positive note: Kent Knappenberger of Westfield Central School and Academy, a school of 720 sudents, has been awareded the first ever Grammy Award for excellence in music education. If you'll look into the story (and sites that cannot be mentioned here), you'll find that education--whatever the subject--is a matter of sending students off into life. As someone wrote, schools give students roots and wings to fly beyond their graduation. Not all teachers can do this, but many who don't get awards like this, are well-deserving in their local communities. In many other countries than the US, teachers are the most respected profession,due to the importance a society gives to education of the young. The young grow old and we rely on the next generation as prepared by educators at all levels. Time to support teachers.

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Regelski

Jan-19-14 1:43 PM

Bluesman is right in one respect: a solid culture of "we" is better than our focus on "me." This happens occasionally in the US when some natural disaster occurs and "we" all pull together. But as a matter of everyday life, it is refreshing to know that society in Finland supports the well-do-do and the not-so-fortunate. Here, "welfare" is not a matter of "welfare queens" (a Teapublican invention since this is not a major drain on local governments and can be controlled by enforcement not by denying help to the elderly and children)but of programs that retrain workers for the jobs available.

I have to remind readers of Christian charity and that "God helps those who help themselves" is not Biblical but an ideological rant.

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Regelski

Jan-19-14 1:33 PM

Ignorance: Well, 100% of higher education in Finland is free? Yes, it is paid by taxes, but the reward is to the country and what Finns are willing to pay for social benefits to the country. Those readers who are paying enormous sums for the education of their children should wonder about this. Taxes are a bit higher than in the US but, in return, they get free education (plus a stipend from the taxpayers for living expenses) and free medical care to all. There are those readers who find this insulting, objectionable, on ideological grounds, but for those who have multiple children in college or a family suffering from expensive life ending diseases, there are other possibilities that you don't know of, yet criticize. A friend, 4 years with pancreatic cancer, 600 euros ($1000) at the time. My biking accident 5 days in ICU, $60--for food! Wake up.

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Regelski

Jan-19-14 1:32 PM

Ignorance: Well, 100% of higher education in Finland is free? Yes, it is paid by taxes, but the reward is to the country and what Finns are willing to pay for social benefits to the country. Those readers who are paying enormous sums for the education of their children should wonder about this. Taxes are a bit higher than in the US but, in return, they get free education (plus a stipend from the taxpayers for living expenses) and free medical care to all. There are those readers who find this insulting, objectionable, on ideological grounds, but for those who have multiple children in college or a family suffering from expensive life ending diseases, there are other possibilities that you don't know of, yet criticize. A friend, 4 years with pancreatic cancer, 600 euros ($1000) at the time. My biking accident 5 days in ICU, $60--for food! Wake up.

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50s4ever

Jan-18-14 4:18 PM

Finland is quite homogenous, people get along well with same religion and national pride. That ain't what your savior in the White House says makes things work.

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50s4ever

Jan-18-14 4:13 PM

There is no such thing as a free education. Unless of course the teachers and buildings, maintenance etc. are all gifts.

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Regelski

Jan-18-14 12:36 PM

As to the comment about a country of 400,000, if this is about Finland, it has 5 million. And many people want to go there, for good reason: it's a social democracy (look it up) and, as such, has the social "safety net" that Teapublicans hate. Health care is free. Higher education is free. Those out of work are reeducated. Life is good (look at "happiness ratings" on line). Taxes are, for me, not above what they would be in the US. The country pulls together: it is "we" not "me," a concept foreign to Americans except in times of emergency. The educational system is at the top of international comparisons. More people read here than anywhere in the world. Ergonomic working conditions are the norm. There are no social ghettos. If you haven't experienced these advantages, there is no basis for criticism and every reason to think that they should be in the US: what is the cost of a quality higher education in the US, compared to for free?

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Regelski

Jan-18-14 12:34 PM

As to the comment about a country of 400,000, if this is about Finland, it has 5 million. And many people want to go there, for good reason: it's a social democracy (look it up) and, as such, has the social "safety net" that Teapublicans hate. Health care is free. Higher education is free. Those out of work are reeducated. Life is good (look at "happiness ratings" on line). Taxes are, for me, not above what they would be in the US--although I pay taxes in both countries. The country pulls togetheR: it is "we" not "me," a concept foreign to Americans except in times of emergency. The educational system is at the top of international comparisons. More people read here than anywhere in the world. Ergonomic working conditions are the norm. There are no social ghettos. If you haven't experienced these advantages, there is no basis for criticism and every reason to think that they should be in the US: what is the cost of a quality higher educa

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Regelski

Jan-18-14 12:15 PM

Typo: it should have been "commutariat" (see Wikipedia), the chorus of pundits on this column who expose their ignorance of what they write about and complain about commentary that is factual. American "exceptionalism" is famous for letting us think we are the best in the world. Well, when it comes to education and health, we are not: we rank below international OECD (look it up) averages. A point is that the commutariat here, for the most part, is anti-American, anti-social, anti-education (scholarship/science) and pro their own unsubstantiated opinions. Again,to the editors of this community service, contributors to your on-line commentary should be held to the same standard as the print edition. I can't imagine any reason to dispute this need, especially given the nonsense that passes for dialog in these pages. I'm sorry if it is seen as a disability when a commentator is educated beyond 6th grade thinking, English, and spelling. Too bad for America.

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50s4ever

Jan-18-14 10:27 AM

What's with people who visit another country or live in a couple of cities thinking they are flipping geniuses with the task of assuming people they know nothing about are ignorant? Boors.

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Regelski

Jan-17-14 12:03 PM

loneriderrr1 and others: "communtariat" is the term of derision referring to exactly the kind of BS that is featured on this website. I taught PS and college in the US for 35 years, and for reasons that have nothing to do with politics or economics, have partially retired elsewhere. Living in another society is something not informing this commutariat's venom; it is instructive as to the way other societies--in this case, schooling--is organized places other than and better than the US. I'll be happy to discuss the facts of difference, but for those of you who read, see Pasi Sahlberg's book, Finnish Lessons. And back off with the personal insults. It would be refreshing to see some facts in this column, not the usual communtariat BS.

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50s4ever

Jan-16-14 10:09 AM

Regelski your 12;35 post referring "BS" has me baffled. I struggle with "commutariat". "BS" is just too far above my reading level. Pray you are not such an exhibitionist with your vocabulary when vocalizing at home. Patricide comes to mind.

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50s4ever

Jan-16-14 9:59 AM

If you can't forgive the P-J for their transgressions, just don't read it. Duhhhh..

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50s4ever

Jan-16-14 9:58 AM

But I repeat myself...yeh Regelski you probably shouldn't take your mouth to a local bar. Maybe Em's and monkey's hang out.

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Regelski

Jan-15-14 1:51 PM

After the fact editing: I should have written "come on" and "community's." No need to descend to the syntax of the commutariat. It's a shame, in a way: we don't sanitize our speech in the same way we do our writings. This reminds me of my complaint that so many of the musings in this column are equivalent to barroom exchanges where there is no attention to details of common expression, only opinionated blasts that often mean absolutely nothing--if considered in the light of reason or standards of communication. Why does the P-J promote such a platform for such invective and anti-social expression? (Editor?)

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Regelski

Jan-15-14 1:41 PM

I pity the responders who send a 'zinger' that they thing answers all issues and objections (an appeals to their audience). I am appalled, disgusted, at the policies of the P-J that allow this nonsense to be featured and, therefore, seemingly approved by posting these comments. Why, pray tell, should not commentators to these columns be expected to post in their own names as is expected of a letter writer to the print column. Common. If you're going to have this kind of commentary, then it should be according to the same criteria for publishing a comment in the print column. You--the Editor--are providing a platform for exhibitionism that is not good journalism and not in the communities' best interests. I suppose it's economics: but if you can't arrange to have a moderator of these posts, that insure their rationality, then discontinue the "service" because it isn't serving any purpose than exhibitionism.

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Regelski

Jan-15-14 12:35 PM

The chances of having an intelligent conversation over differences (of any kind) are null on this column due to the P-J policy of letting the commutariat publish their views without public accountability as to who they are. There's no need to produce any logic or evidence for opinions (incidentally "opinion" stems from the root words for "stubborn.") What might be reasonable exchanges of difference end up, in the hands of the local cranks, opportunities to issue vile comments, insulting rhetoric, and ideological mayhem. This newspaper, whatever policing it does of this BS, is nonetheless remiss for giving these cranks a platform for their anti-social behavior. (Editor: comment?) I have to believe than some of these posters reside at Jones Hill--or were recently released. But they're a threat: not to the commonweal, but to common sense. I'd love to have the chance to confront these idiots in a public venue other than their local bar.

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50s4ever

Jan-12-14 6:17 PM

Maybe it just takes several screen names to hit the button to assure of censorship?

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50s4ever

Jan-12-14 6:15 PM

Bluesman-I said Regelski's posts were pedestrian, and noted monkey and pit disappear at the same time. Both posts were pulled. I guess pit and monkey were right about P-J being really sensitive about keeping this blog free of filthy comments?! Or are we right about P-J not even reading the ones reported as abusive?

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Regelski

Jan-11-14 11:34 AM

(cont. from below). This country is perpetually at the top of the PISA scores of international comparisons. Differences between schools on these tests are so small as to lead the world: only 5-7%. But there are no sports or extracurricular activities: such social needs are otherwise provided by the community (sports especially). Teachers are, therefore, treated as professionals and act accordingly, given the national ethos that supports the need for an educated nation. The country? Finland. Want details?: Pasi Sahlberg's book, Finnish Lessons is recommended. You will come away concerned at how contrary to the US system this successful system is. And it can't be explained away by differences in the size of the countries. Read it, then pass it on to your local board members. BTW, it helps that in this social democracy, economic differences are minimized by an "us" mentality: our country, our students, our future. This social "safety net" works to the benefit o

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Regelski

Jan-11-14 11:21 AM

Nonfiction: Boards of ed. have a difficult role: they need to protect the children, the taxpayers, and understand what administrators and politicians are selling. That means being aware of the pros and cons of current ideology disputes, and resisting the attempts of Teapublicans and others to make schools into factories or farms. Consider, instead, a country where the top 10% of HS grads go into teaching. They take a 4 year degree in their major, then a 2 year qualification to teach (that includes a research thesis) and then teach from a very general set of Ministry guidelines that allow them, as professionals, to fill in the details. No high stakes testing at all!!!!!! No basing teacher evaluations on test scores. In this country, students go to school less often than in NYS and teachers teach less often (more of their time going into joint planning for their schools. Curriculum is individualized. Teachers are the second most respected professions after medicine!

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nonfiction

Jan-10-14 2:27 PM

Regelski,

I agree with you on many of your points. But at one point you're stating that local school boards shouldn't push educational policy due to lack of qualification. Then you are also dismissing common core and regents which are nat'l and state standard. Your grievances with our current education system are well stated. What would you do instead?

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 12:37 PM

follow-up: Do you want your children and grandchildren to enjoy music, the arts, literature, and all the other things not tested by Regents Exams and Common Core criteria? I'm presently in a country where teenagers speak three languages: should Americans even learn to speak and write English well? They don't! But if you don't find this need, and find comments on this post to be boringly above your heads, then your vision of America as the leader in the world is seriously challenged. By any international metric that you can cite, America is not only falling behind in education but failing increasingly in comparison to international norms. Meanwhile, citizens debate about football and sports programs, but who is concerned about, say, foreign languages, music/art, comparisons in math and reading? How narrow. And how much the next generation will suffer from our ideological theories. Get real.

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 12:29 PM

ON other topic, hopefully more constructive: schools in the US are the concern of local citizens who elect boards of education. These elected officials are, as mentioned earlier, not necessarily skilled in understanding the ins and outs of daily schooling. They are easily influenced by administrators or by public furor, neither of which is a good way to run schools. In the rest of the world, a 'principal' means a 'principle' (leading) teacher. Instead, we have principals who advance their careers by abandoning teaching for administration. Not all--maybe not even the majority--are so motivated. The only solution is for voter to try to educate themselves on issue (not ideologies). Locally admired people are not necessarily up to the task. That means that parent groups must educate themselves and opt for policies that they understand and accept. The usual rhetoric has to do with salaries and expenses, not with educational priorities and performance.

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Regelski

Jan-10-14 12:19 PM

@50s4ever: Sorry to bore you, but you seem to be too easily bored (you just don't understand the issues and dismiss them), rather than willing to actually exchange views on these topics. Why does 'your type' think this kind of response is constructive, responsive, and contribution to the discussion. And why, with your insults, do you hide behind your anonymous on-line name. You'd have another reaction if you had said this to my face. Are you afraid of being held accountable to the local community by putting you name on such tripe? This newspaper is remiss in allowing this kind of exhibitionism to be published. The cranks are taking over your publication--as is the case in Dunkirk, as well. This is NOT a community service and contributes nothing to the important issues that need to be discussed--assuming one is sober and not otherwise burdened by psychological problems. F**k you is not a reasonable contribution.

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