Betty Cooper Sanchez 
Member since Aug 17, 2015


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Re: “TUSD Board Gives Go Ahead to School Expansions

Why not find out why people want to avoid sending their children to Magee and develop programs that make it a more attractive option?

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Betty Cooper Sanchez on 11/16/2015 at 9:37 AM

Re: “In the Wake of Voter Rejection of Bond Package, Tucson Mayor Rothschild Says City May Need To Go It Alone

I voted yes on the proposals for all of the positive reasons people mentioned above, but I also agree with many of the reasons people were opposed to them. I am tired of the bad roads and the slow transport around town that contributes to carbon pollution and driver frustration. I'm tired of the lack of economic development and low paying jobs in Tucson. But, I am also tired of the powers that be thwarting the will of the voters by not following through on projects as directed by voters in a timely manner. Maybe, had there only been two or three proposals and had they been more specific about how the money would be spent more people would have been in favor. I also totally understand that the money can't keep coming from the middle classes until we feel that our futures are more secure, our officials truly support and represent us, AND that all entities are contributing their fair share.

18 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Betty Cooper Sanchez on 11/05/2015 at 9:33 AM

Re: “The South Carolina Student Arrest and "Black Girls Matter"

It's about a struggle for power. Whether a person is black, white, hispanic, native or asian, may or may not enter the equation. Power struggles are defused by communication. If the person in power;ie., teacher, parent, police person, knows how or is trained to defuse, he or she shows respect for the other individual by not trying to take all the power. Deference to authority or "personal responsibility" is easy for someone who expects to be treated fairly and with respect. If our entire society always rolled over for authority, we'd lose all our rights.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Betty Cooper Sanchez on 11/03/2015 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Should Teachers With High Achieving Students Get Better Teacher Evaluations? (And What Is the National Council on Teacher Quality?)

So, Rat t, say I'm a teacher at Thus and Such private school, where most students come from two parent homes with $100,000+ incomes. All students are reading on grade level because their parents read to them from a very early age and were able to intercede by hiring tutors if they were not. Parents are business people, doctors, lawyers, professors, etc. These parents understand what it takes to get their kids into colleges and some even push for Ivy Leagues. Students are involved in extracurricular activities and supported by parents to get where they need to go when they need to be there. Homework and grades are the most important thing in their children's lives. Scores at this school are phenomenal. This school has all the money it needs to keep class sizes at a reasonable size, support sports, music and arts programs, and even though the pay is not great, it manages to keep a low level of teacher turnover because the working conditions are so good. Of course, not all of these families are perfect, but most have it pretty good.
Then, say I change jobs because I want to work in a school that could use a good teacher. This school is made up of families who are struggling in every way imaginable. Some don't have cars to get these students to school much less to soccer games and violin lessons, even if they were free. Both parents are working at minimum wage jobs and hope they'll have enough money for rent or there is only one parent or income in the familiy and that's from two different jobs. Some students are on their own when they are not in school, or they're with a relative who doesn't really want them around. Parents can't afford daycare. Some kids come to school hungry because the one parent in the house came home from work at 3am and needs to sleep. Some kids were up all night because there was a lot of fighting in the home that night. Very few have done any homework because it's not a priority at home. Many of them miss a lot of school for one reason or another and come late when they do. Teachers are lucky if half the students are already reading on grade level.Of course, it's not bad for all of them, but most of them have pretty tough lives.
Teaching at the private school is generally smooth sailing. Teaching at the second school, it doesn't matter if it's a charter school or a public school, is one of the toughest jobs anyone can have. It would be wonderful if teachers in the second school could depend on the students to just do their work as they can in the first school. But what they really have to do is coax a student who already feels like a failure to do something that is likely to make him or her continue to fail. Or, maybe the teacher has to break up a fight because two of the students don't get enough parenting to learn how to deal appropriately with their anger. Or, maybe one of the student is hungry and the teacher needs to find something for him or her to eat. Then, maybe the teacher can get down to some teaching, but how does he or she push forward when there are some students in the classroom who can't read at all, maybe a few who read well and all the time, and others that fall everywhere in-between.
Who do you think really deserves more pay?

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Betty Cooper Sanchez on 08/17/2015 at 11:33 PM

Re: “Should Teachers With High Achieving Students Get Better Teacher Evaluations? (And What Is the National Council on Teacher Quality?)

To Francis Saitta who posted above:
I was a middle school math teacher in TUSD back in the late 90's when the focus on testing began to get more intense and schools began to develop curriculum based in standards. Students were tested in 3rd, and 8th grades. We were using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. I worked in a very unique environment with great parent support, but we had our share of students living in homes where economic survival was a trial or the family was dysfunctional in some way. Most families could support their children in their academic endeavors, but many had difficulty even though their hearts were in it.
I paid close attention to standards and analyzed the scores of my 8th grade students very closely. I was able, on that test, to see where all of my students in a given year may have fallen down a bit on the same skill or maybe the same concept area. I would use that information to re-focus my curriculum the following year, to improve my instruction in that area. This is how testing should be used effectively.
Because I only had 30, 8th graders, I was also able to see that I could predict whether student scores would go up or down, in general, at the beginning of the year, when I saw where my students were to begin with and how many students had difficulties at home, which usually translates into students who have difficulty controlling their behavior or focusing their attention. "My" test scores from year to year had more to do with the makeup of the students in my classroom than with how well I taught from year to year, though I could see the effect of my increased attention to a given standard or skill area because it was no longer lower than the rest of the scores for that year. In general, the scores would go up a little one year and down a little the next--I could not control that. All I could control is where I might be able to improve when all students fell down in a given area. If I could ensure that each child made a year's progress in all areas, even if they came in lower than grade level, I believed I was doing a good job. In order to make more progress than that in a year, a student would have to go above and beyond. Occasionally, someone did, but by the same token, a student whose family went through a divorce, a depressed parent, or a job loss, would not be focused enough to put in that kind of effort.
In just the period between 1990 and 2008, when I retired, there were 3 overhauls of the standards and the tests--one with Clinton, one with Bush, and another with Obama. With any given set of standards or tests, I would find some improvement as I became more familiar with the new "regime." When the next overhaul came in, down went the scores while I became accustomed to the new requirements. In the end, schools became so focused on the test scores that I found myself preparing students for tests non-stop because now, the districts were requiring a "benchmark" test each quarter to make sure teachers were prepping for the test at the end of the year. Instead of being able to study skills and concepts in depth, we were forced to " cover" topics quickly to make sure that students had "at least seen it" before the quarter's test. Students felt rushed and stressed and it was evident in their behavior.
If teacher's pay and evaluations are based on testing, the curriculum becomes nothing but test prep because teacher's are going to do everything they can, whether it's good for kids or not, to try to get student scores up. They become stressed and frustrated because much of it is really beyond their control. It becomes a big circle of bored, stressed and frustrated students and teachers. No one experiences the joy of learning, which is the most effective means of becoming an educated individual.
Yes, there need to be good, rigorous but reasonable standards. And, yes, there needs to be a way for teachers to hold themselves and their students accountable through assessment. But if that assessment is used to sanction instead of to instruct, it will not do the job of lifting either teacher or student achievement.

17 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Betty Cooper Sanchez on 08/17/2015 at 5:13 PM

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