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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch: Last 30 Days

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

Katie, in the interest of presenting both sides of the argument accurately, I stated the anti-Strong Start concerns in a paragraph which said clearly that it was their argument, not mine. I don't think summarizing their views is putting out "misinformation." I did say, "Their concerns are genuine," because I believe they are, though, as I go on to say, they are minor compared to the value of the program. I then went on to address their concerns one by one. I also say in the introductory paragraphs and at the end that I am a supporter of Strong Start.

As we get closer to the election, both sides will likely become more visible and vocal. I think it's valuable to put both arguments side by side and see how they line up next to one another.

27 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 08/05/2017 at 8:34 AM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

Yet the vast majority of research agrees...

Not so fast. Yes, their are hundreds of studies waxing poetic about the benefits of preschool and kindergarten.

And, then there is the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. A random sample of 20,000 children, the best tests ever designed to measure young child cognition, measurement of affective outcomes from every perspective, the student, the parent, the teacher. Measurement of motor skills. Recording every aspect of student's life so that all things can be held constant.

$140 million dollars spent just collecting the data.

Separation of data gathering from data analysis to prevent bias from corrupting the data collection.

Followed the students for 9 years, all the way through 8th grade.

Result: at the end of 8th grade, all-day kindergartners are behind half day kindergartners by .1 standard deviations - the equivalent of the entire 12th grade.

The ECLS is the Hubble telescope of education studies. You never hear about it because Education culture prefers its myths.

The ECLS data exactly parallels a similar longitudinal study done on preschool.

The National Reading Panel began their work by spending $10 million analyzing over 10,000 reading studies and ended up concluding that 96% of them weren't worth the paper that they were written on and the other 400 had weaknesses.

Why would early childhood research be any different?

8 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by on 08/05/2017 at 7:00 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

The short answer is, "Yes."

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Huppenthal is still a public school hater on 08/05/2017 at 6:40 AM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

Mr Safier, many of the concerns/questions you raised are easily answered on Strong Start Tucson's website... please don't keep spreading the idea that we "don't know" more about this initiative. Local nonprofits will bid to be the one to oversee it (that only happens after it's passed) and quality is clearly defined on the website as a 3,4 or 5 star rating from first things first's Quality First rating system. I posted on fb, too - just don't want more misinformation out there!

8 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Katie Paschall on 08/04/2017 at 9:30 PM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

If you like it I know it has to suck.

13 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 08/04/2017 at 3:19 PM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Response to Mumford P and Retrov on California's ranking

The RAND corporation did three major studies in the 90's and very early 2000s which ranked the states. These studies used NAEP data and six different census variables to very carefully control for demographics, family income, family marital status, etc.

California schools finished dead last in all three studies while Arizona ranked 21st in the most recent of the three (2002 data) and 19th and 30th in the two earlier studies.

Just recently, Matthew Hingus of the Urban Institute did what amounts to an update of the RAND studies using 2015 NAEP data.

In his ranking, Arizona ranked 13th and California ranked 47th.

Hawaii, the state with one school district and 19% of parents rating their child's school a "D" or "F" ranked dead last.

3 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by on 08/04/2017 at 10:30 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

This debate, whether certified teachers outperform non-certified teachers, is important. If the research reported by Mr. Huppenthal is reliable (I believe it is) and there is little difference, what are to believe?

In my estimation, we need to look hard at both the teacher certification/degree programs and the students who enter and graduate ostensibly prepared to begin teaching. A hint: take a long look at preparation of the teaching cadres in countries that are succeeding. Entrance into the teacher profession is heavily screened admitting high achieving students into demanding programs with significant field experience and assigned mentors (master teachers). The pay scale is attractive to students wanting to work in the field, not seen as a cross to bear or a base to build on with additional part-time work. Teachers in these countries are not autonomous but are heavily involved in decision-making in their schools and professional organization. Essentially, the opposite of what teachers in this country experience.

So, if certified teachers here fare not much better than their counterparts, it just could be that our teacher training and certification mills are working with average material in a virtual vacuum while expected to produce able practitioners willing to work for a pittance. What could possibly go wrong?

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 08/04/2017 at 7:13 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Response to Retrorv

Your study doesn't disagree with me- read it carefully. In your study, Darling-Hammond is disagreeing with a prior study which, using NELS data, found that certified teachers did not outperform non-certified teachers in the areas of mathematics and science.

This is the key sentence in the entire study:

When experience was controlled, both education degrees and
levels of experience had positive but smaller influences on student achievement (page 21).

Yes, as a group, certified teachers outperform non-certified teachers by a smidgen - that's what I stated in my post above.

But, almost half of non-certified teachers outperform almost half of certified teachers. The variance is quite large so there are large gains to be had by allowing districts freedom to choose the best.

The districts with the overwhelming majority of our students are well equipped to sort this out.

3 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by on 08/04/2017 at 6:29 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?


A false statement -

"Yet Arizona's Subject Matter Expert Standard Teaching Certificate is equal to a standard teaching certificate people earn by going through a teacher preparation program, passing subject matter and professional knowledge exams and teaching for two years"

If it were true why then only a few of the jobs offered it as a minimum requirement and none as the only ...

This one doesn't and note the preferred requirements ....…

Been tracking here all summer ...…

4 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Robert on 08/03/2017 at 2:27 PM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession? Do you have any non-biased sources for your claims? Or are you just pitching out numbers to back up your desire to cripple public education? And where is that Florida study? Here's one that disagrees (assuming your's exists): t

16 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by retrorv on 08/03/2017 at 8:48 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Mumford P. Where did you get your ranking number? If not in the link you supplied. Here's one that actually does.…

19 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by retrorv on 08/03/2017 at 8:45 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Consider the increasing exodus of teachers from their profession aligned with far fewer college students intending to enter the field (a labor shortage) in tandem with the acknowledged low quality and standards of teacher preparation courses (a readiness issue). These explain the dynamics behind S.B. 1042 here and similar legislation under consideration in other states.

The political argument in favor of S.B.1042 type legislation appears to be: If holes need to be plugged, any warm body will do.

These are untenable problems with a suggested solution akin to sending 10 years olds into battle as inevitable defeat looms. Mastery of subject matter IS critical to teaching successfully. Mentored experiences and knowledge of how students learn IS critical to teaching success and being able to broaden students' horizons while igniting their desire to continue on to more demanding lessons.

Until traditional models of teacher preparation are disrupted and replaced, and the teaching "profession" becomes a highly paid, respected, admirable pursuit, nothing will change. The questions are how to attract the best students into well designed and validated teacher preparation programs, how to nurture them in the field and how to fund teaching jobs that pay salaries commensurate with other professions.

The center cannot hold. We are running out of cannon fodder.

16 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 08/03/2017 at 8:19 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

You have a number of states for example Florida and North Carolina where they have detailed data stretching for many years.

We will soon have a comparable data base in Arizona through the teacher course connection. We have a very large sample of long term substitutes and emergency teachers.

It actually doesn't take a lot of years, just a large sample.

The particular study that I read came from an analysis in Florida. It was almost a dead heat, but there was a large standard deviation on both curves. That large standard deviation points to the potential to access a large pool of effective teachers who aren't currently allowed access to the classroom just because of credentialing.
Over 45% of long term substitutes had higher academic gains than 50% of certified teachers.

A side benefit of allowing this unfettered access is that it would send a wake up call to the Colleges of Education. When reviewing quality surveys at the Arizona Department of Education, I found that only 25% of teachers rated the quality of their preparation excellent. This was a static number.

At the Department of Education, our excellence rating was improving at the rate of seven percentile points a year. Our Arizona Universities overall were improving at the rate of one percentile point a year and I wasn't seeing any improvement at all in the teacher rating of their college education.

5 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by on 08/03/2017 at 6:07 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Where are there schools with uncertified teachers that are comparable to schools with certified teachers in sufficient quantities and of significant length to provide long-term results? And what does "long-term" imply? How many years, judged by what? As usual with Huppenthal, his statements are questionable at best, and probably false at worst.

16 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by gcb1 on 08/02/2017 at 8:52 PM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

What is our goal? What achievement will bring the greatest esteem and job satisfaction to our teachers? Creating an artificial construct of laws that prevent entry into the profession?

Or, to maximize academic gains, motivation and character of our students so that they can be successful in life?

The long-term studies in those states that now track academic gains student by student and class by class show that certified teachers are only marginally better than uncertified teachers.

From that curve you can draw a simple theoretical conclusion - if school districts can gain unlimited access to the upper half of the uncertified curve, academic gains for the nation will go up as much as 25%.

The best and the brightest of education culture have been at it for years. The result? Academic productivity of our schools is down 15% since 2000.

Allowing school districts to set their own employment policies not only will not end the world as we know it, it is likely and predictable that it will result in better outcomes for our students. And, that in turn will result in greater job satisfaction for teachers.

9 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by on 08/02/2017 at 11:47 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

I have to agree. There are some great teachers out there that have made it their career. It reads like a hit piece by a union, gasping for survival. NEA always offered up scary scenarios that did not come to fruition. Would love to see it go back in time to the point where government workers were not allowed to unionize. That in itself would allow them to take their union dues home as pay.

7 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by Norman P, retired Oro Valley on 08/02/2017 at 11:46 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Sounds like a tempest in a tea cup. With pay so low and teaching being such a tough profession, the only people who will do this will be people who are very motivated to teach and will probably do a great job for that reason.

6 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by bslap on 08/02/2017 at 11:32 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

Arizona is loaded with conservative assholes and a conservative asshole governor.

Yet AZ scores even lower than CA.

Not the best argument now is it Mumford?

31 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Mumford and Nones on 08/02/2017 at 9:49 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

$72,000,000,000.00 Education Funding in California. How did students results compare to the rest of the nation? 46th.

CA Legislature is loaded with liberals and a liberal governor.

11 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by Mumford P on 08/02/2017 at 9:10 AM

Re: “Arizona's Un-Credential. Is It the Beginning Of the End Of Teaching As a Profession?

All of the Republicans in the state legislature and the congress of the U.S. are doing great with a very limited education which home-schooling could provide. The main objective for Republicans across this country is to take every program and department of state and federal government s and privatize them which allows public money to go to private persons, usually other Republicans that will funnel that money back into electing more Republicans. The planning to monopolize governments started after Richard Nixon resigned in discrace and Republican think-tanks have been meeting since that time to achieve the goals of their platform,ie; small central government, low taxes, privatize every part of the federal government, restrictions on individuals that are granted by the Constitution. All conservative governments across the globe are repressive and some of them are murderous. Hitler was a liberal until he gained complete control and then he became an ultra conservative.

29 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Beneal Good on 08/02/2017 at 7:14 AM

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