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April 20, 2014

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Take the time to understand what teachers do

I applaud J. Patrick Coolican’s Tuesday column, “Life lessons taught here,” which was about Green Valley High School’s Scott Ginger, who teaches English and speech and debate. I am glad to see some positive media coverage about teachers.

The media should more often go to schools and watch teachers. Watch a kindergarten classroom with more than 30 students and see how the teacher does magic with 5-year-olds, especially during the first weeks of school.

Too many people insult and denigrate teachers. They simply are ignorant about what we as teachers do. Columns such as this will help them understand.

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  1. Morning Nancy

  2. Too many people give teachers a pass without any evidence they're actually teaching. They may be good, they may be bad; right now we don't know either way.

    We should not be afraid to be critical of bad teachers even though there are irrational demagogues who will attack anyone critical of our failing system.

  3. Right now, Nevada is in the equivalent of a war on education. And look at the irresponsible attitude of the right-wing: in a war, when a battle does not go well, is it smart to blame the soldiers? Then say: cut the soldiers' pay, take away their weapons, give them worse equipment, and they'll do better next time?

    The argument is absurd on its face, and morally wrong. What needs to be thought through is educational strategy, new philosophies, such as "transitional literacy" to deal with 21st century American students who come to school with hosts of challenges never faced before.

    Time to stop bashing the teachers, and instead, examine every step of the way our society educates its children. And in order to do this, we'll need every great teacher we can pay premiums to keep in our classrooms: teachers like Scott Ginger, and Nancy Agustin. Thanks to both!

  4. Mr. Unger, your dogmatic rhetoric aside, I could easily claim you're making war on students. You continue to support policies which, in effect, are more about providing jobs for adults and seem to have little to no impact on students.

    Your analogy is also horrible and can be easily turned against you. In effect you're making war for the sake of spending rather than funding a military for the sake of defending. In other words, you've got all your priorities mixed up.

  5. Patrick:

    I have asked repeatedly that you come to schools and observe teachers. Until you do that, you do not have the credibility. That is why so many people in this forum disrespect you.

    I am repeating my request. GO TO SCHOOLS. OBSERVE. Take notes of what is bad and note down WHY they are bad. Give suggestions how it can be better. Tell the principal. You see, in any situation, smart people just don't complain - they present problems and offer suggestions. Until you do that, you will just be a whiner - the problem - and not the solution.

    By the way, take roseann with you and a few of your kind. Do something that will actually help, not just mouthing off. You two just foam in the mouth and never give rebuttals or explanations. That is really immature. I don't understand why there is so much hatred inside you.

    Grow up, Patrick.

  6. Nancy, been there and I've done that...all of that. You aren't paying attention.

    Mr. Lamy, you're the guy who runs and hides from all empirical evidence he doesn't like. You're a dogmatic ideologue who thinks teachers work 2,800 hours a year about 1,200 more than the U.S. Department of Labor states is accurate. In other words, you have a nasty habit of making stuff up.

  7. PS, the Labor Department puts the teacher work week at 37 to 40 hours. Teacher work year is 185 days on average or about 37 weeks.

  8. No Patrick, you didn't. Maybe you have myopia because you only see half of it.

    Go back and find some "empirical evidences" of your own, not from someone else's research.

  9. Mr. Lamy you are the worst sort of dishonest intellectual incompetent. Not only do you make stuff up, you completely mangle other people's statements in order to build straw men.

  10. Nancy, I'm afraid you don't understand what empirical evidence is, nor the meaning of myopic. You're touting the superiority of your own anecdotal evidence which makes you myopic.

  11. No Patrick. You are the one who is incapable of understanding. Your mind is closed. I know what empirical evidence is. I have a doctorate degree. I enclosed empirical evidence in quotations because you use it so selectively. That is myopic! Here's the definition of myopia:

    myopia /maopi/ Show Spelled
    [mahy-oh-pee-uh] Show IPA

    --noun
    1. Ophthalmology . a condition of the eye in which parallel rays are focused in front of the retina, objects being seen distinctly only when near to the eye; nearsightedness ( opposed to hyperopia).

    2. lack of foresight or discernment; obtuseness.

    3. narrow-mindedness; intolerance.

    You are the number two and three defined. Once again, grow up Patrick!

  12. Oh Patrick, here's a definition of 'obtuse.'

    obtuse /btus, -tyus/ [uhb-toos, -tyoos]

    --adjective
    1. not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
    2. not sharp, acute, or pointed; blunt in form.

    Hey Tank,

    I don't think Patrick will answer you. I have been following this forum and know how he operates. He attacks then runs. He can't engage in adult conversations. His premises are always skewed and his arguments faulty, resulting in idiotic conclusion.

    (By the way, between you and I, he thinks he's really smart because he quotes 'research' from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and all the IVY league schools.)

    I have given him advice before, so do others in this forum, but he continues to do what he does - much like some teenagers. I guess we'll have to wait until he grows up.

  13. Education in our state is in a crisis not unlike a war. Lives are at stake here, make no mistake about it: hundreds of thousands of Nevada students will either learn enough to lead prosperous, productive lives, or they will not. Keep in mind: education is not only what a student learns from books or hyper-texts or vocationally; education is how a student learns to life his or her life, with goals and ethics, with the resources and soundness of an educated mind.

    The current system needs a great deal of re-thinking and reorganization. Sensible budget cuts are in order. But the degree that the right-wingers want to explode education budgets in our state is unsustainable and wrong. Cutting budgets this much really is like watching soldiers lose a battle then punishing the soldiers with pay cuts and taking away their weapons, only to send them back into battle again, absurdly and cruelly expecting them to win. This is both morally and practically dead wrong.

    Teachers can't take more cuts, and they won't; the good teachers will leave the system, or they'll be so demoralized that they will increasingly just surrender to the near impossibility of what they will be facing: overcrowded classrooms; limited supplies and technology with which to teach; stressed out students with tremendous difficulties who cannot now be given the individual attention that they desperately need; and a public rhetoric machine with the likes of this education hater Gibbons pouring his poison out over their heads in blog posts and newspapers, disrespecting and devaluing their profession, careless of the harm they directly cause to the students in their classes.

    Remember: a budget is a moral document. Who here shows enough morality to save lives? Teachers do. The good teachers are out there every day, saving lives, one student at a time. Now it's up to the legislators in our state to show the moral courage to fund education at least enough to sustain its vital infrastructure and human resources. Doing any less is the ethical equivalent of treason, and surely a betrayal of the promise of our younger generation.

  14. Mr. Lamy,

    You are a dishonest intellectual incompetent. Additionally you show a complete lack of understanding on how the teaching profession actually works (although the only Joe Lamy I can locate any details on in Nevada is a teacher in Reno, are you him?)...though I think this has more to do with the fact that you're a dogmatic partisan ideologue who has to ignore inconvenient facts.

    In order to reach that average salary you need 8 years and an MA degree plus the time it takes to earn the meaningless teacher certification...in Virginia that alone was another 2 years worth of college coursework.

  15. To everyone who contributed:

    Thanks. It is my fervent hope that this forum will provide a venue to discuss viable solutions in hopes that the powers-that-be get the drift and do some type of action with them. If we can continue the positive discourse, we can perhaps arrive at certain actionable solutions.

    I wish there is a way to prevent the clutter. When fanatics spew venom and insult others simply because they do not agree with them and closed minds refuse to even acknowledge ideas not like theirs, it simply does not contribute to logical discourse. Worst of all, when these fanatics run out of arguments, they resort to name-calling.

    (Isn't democracy grand? Any one is free to be an idiot.)

  16. Mr. Lamy,

    Its clear you deal in making stuff up. It is also clear that you either don't know how to read or are too lazy to read.

    The Department of Labor source was a survey. They asked teachers how many hours a week they work.

    If you weren't such a dogmatic ideologue perhaps you would have taken the time to read the facts rather than making up your own.

    Could you supply an evidence that you do any other work than make stuff up? At this point I don't believe anything you write.

  17. Nancy,

    The irony is you're the one who is ignoring facts. I present empirical research from respected institutions and you turn your nose up at it.

    I think it has to do with the fact that you're ripping off taxpayers earning an extra $25,000 for a piece of paper that is not correlated with student achievement. I can't blame you for your behavior it is human nature to be self interested.

  18. Can we please ignore him now? He is really not worth the space. PLEASE? Can we wait until he grows up? I deal with his kind every day at school. I don't want to do that here. This is supposed to be grown up conversation. OKAY?