Don't like the snow? You can make a bookmark with the following text instead of a url: javascript:snowStorm.toggleSnow(). Clicking it will toggle the snow on and off.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Modern economic theories and YOU!

1235

Posts

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    MrMister wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    American schools are broken when compared with other first and even second world schools. Our factory style system is more expensive and has worse results.

    What level of education are we talking about? Furthermore, whose education are we talking about?

    I've gotten pretty much the best that money can buy, and it's excellent. Sure, the cost excludes a lot of underpriviledged people, and the tracking system does as well, and those are serious problems--however, I can't tell if you're trying to say that everyone gets a bad education, or that most people get a bad education. If it's the former, then you're wrong.

    I'm talking about 1-12. No, I'm not trying to say that everyone gets a bad education. I went to a pretty good private school and I know that there are some pretty good public schools. What I'm saying is that the bulk of the population doesn't go to schools that are anywhere near as good as they could be and what is frustrating is that the problem isn't even mainly a money issue. It is just the structure of the education bureaucracy.

    Ding ding ding!

    I'll take "Why unions suck ass" for $200 Alex.

    The quality of education, at least at the pre-college level, has absolutely nothing to do with our economic system, it can all be laid squarely at the feet of union malfeasance. I'm honestly at a lose to think of an example where a union has managed to fulfill its necessary role of representing worker needs without devolving in to a painful and industry devouring clusterfuck. I mean, I'm sure it must exist somewhere, but I really just can't thin kof any cases.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    While I wouldn't necessarily say "squarely," yeah, unions are a big reason why our education system sucks.

    Unions are a big cause for most of the things that we suck at compared to other modern nations.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Working class unions are pretty useful considering the mounds of benefits you can get by joining them, and how they tend to keep stores from fucking over employees.

    The teacher's union is a problem because it creates job protection based on duration, not ability.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The teacher's union is a problem because it creates job protection based on duration, not ability.
    If it were about ability, unions wouldn't need to exist.

    Unions are a way to balance the rewards of a market away from employers and customers and towards employees. In the case of education, employers are taxpayers and the customers are the future of our nation.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    MrMister wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    American schools are broken when compared with other first and even second world schools. Our factory style system is more expensive and has worse results.

    What level of education are we talking about? Furthermore, whose education are we talking about?

    I've gotten pretty much the best that money can buy, and it's excellent. Sure, the cost excludes a lot of underpriviledged people, and the tracking system does as well, and those are serious problems--however, I can't tell if you're trying to say that everyone gets a bad education, or that most people get a bad education. If it's the former, then you're wrong.

    I'm talking about 1-12. No, I'm not trying to say that everyone gets a bad education. I went to a pretty good private school and I know that there are some pretty good public schools. What I'm saying is that the bulk of the population doesn't go to schools that are anywhere near as good as they could be and what is frustrating is that the problem isn't even mainly a money issue. It is just the structure of the education bureaucracy.

    Ding ding ding!

    I'll take "Why unions suck ass" for $200 Alex.

    The quality of education, at least at the pre-college level, has absolutely nothing to do with our economic system, it can all be laid squarely at the feet of union malfeasance. I'm honestly at a lose to think of an example where a union has managed to fulfill its necessary role of representing worker needs without devolving in to a painful and industry devouring clusterfuck. I mean, I'm sure it must exist somewhere, but I really just can't thin kof any cases.

    Um, no actually.

    Here in the United States we see fit to not properly train teachers and then treat them like idiots and inflict on them curriculum designed by educational bureaucrats. The entire structure is out of early 20th century scientific industrial planning - unthinking workers at the bottom executing the instructions of planners at the top. The result is that there are less teachers per student and less attention paid to each student.

    Compare the school district of Zurich, Switzerland to the school district of Riverside, California. Both have roughly 29,000 students. Both have roughly the same budgets.

    In the Swiss system teachers are paid more and better educated. Almost everyone who works at the school teaches. There are less layers of bureaucracy. Teachers create their own lesson plans. There is in general less bureaucracy and red tape because training, authority and responsibility have been concentrated in the teachers. The district employs 2,330 teachers and 113 administrative and office personel.

    In Riverside 1,223 teachers and 863 administrative and office personel are employed. Classes are bigger, teachers undertrained, over worked and forced to hurry through regimented lesson plans without regard for the actual individuals in their classes.

    It's the bureaucracy guys. It's the whole way the thing is structured.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Working class unions are pretty useful considering the mounds of benefits you can get by joining them, and how they tend to keep stores from fucking over employees.

    The teacher's union is a problem because it creates job protection based on duration, not ability.

    Yeah, from a members perspective, unions are great. Job security, benefits, so on and so forth are all things that are nice for the individual work. The problems come up on the company/industry level, where unions create stagnation, disproportionate worker compensation, and general asshattery.

    There's a reason every industry with strong unions (air travel, automotive manufacturers, education) is in a disgusting state.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The teacher's union is a problem because it creates job protection based on duration, not ability.
    If it were about ability, unions wouldn't need to exist.

    Unions are a way to balance the rewards of a market away from employers and customers and towards employees. In the case of education, employers are taxpayers and the customers are the future of our nation.

    ?

    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    MrMister wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    American schools are broken when compared with other first and even second world schools. Our factory style system is more expensive and has worse results.

    What level of education are we talking about? Furthermore, whose education are we talking about?

    I've gotten pretty much the best that money can buy, and it's excellent. Sure, the cost excludes a lot of underpriviledged people, and the tracking system does as well, and those are serious problems--however, I can't tell if you're trying to say that everyone gets a bad education, or that most people get a bad education. If it's the former, then you're wrong.

    I'm talking about 1-12. No, I'm not trying to say that everyone gets a bad education. I went to a pretty good private school and I know that there are some pretty good public schools. What I'm saying is that the bulk of the population doesn't go to schools that are anywhere near as good as they could be and what is frustrating is that the problem isn't even mainly a money issue. It is just the structure of the education bureaucracy.

    Ding ding ding!

    I'll take "Why unions suck ass" for $200 Alex.

    The quality of education, at least at the pre-college level, has absolutely nothing to do with our economic system, it can all be laid squarely at the feet of union malfeasance. I'm honestly at a lose to think of an example where a union has managed to fulfill its necessary role of representing worker needs without devolving in to a painful and industry devouring clusterfuck. I mean, I'm sure it must exist somewhere, but I really just can't thin kof any cases.

    Um, no actually.

    Here in the United States we see fit to not properly train teachers and then treat them like idiots and inflict on them curriculum designed by educational bureaucrats. The entire structure is out of early 20th century scientific industrial planning - unthinking workers at the bottom executing the instructions of planners at the top. The result is that there are less teachers per student and less attention paid to each student.

    Compare the school district of Zurich, Switzerland to the school district of Riverside, California. Both have roughly 29,000 students. Both have roughly the same budgets.

    In the Swiss system teachers are paid more and better educated. Almost everyone who works at the school teaches. There are less layers of bureaucracy. Teachers create their own lesson plans. There is in general less bureaucracy and red tape because training, authority and responsibility have been concentrated in the teachers. The district employs 2,330 teachers and 113 administrative and office personel.

    In Riverside 1,223 teachers and 863 administrative and office personel are employed. Classes are bigger, teachers undertrained, over worked and forced to hurry through regimented lesson plans without regard for the actual individuals in their classes.

    It's the bureaucracy guys. It's the whole way the thing is structured.

    It's absolutely the bureaucracy, and the reason its progressed to such a horrible level and nothing substantive can be done to change it is because of the teacher's unions. They like being one of the highest pay/qualification ratios in the US, having unassailable job security, and extensive political power and intend to make sure no one rocks the boat (unless its the "Teachers need more money!" kind of rocking, in which case if you disagree you hate children and are a Nazi).

    I'm really, really not usually one of those fuck the people, go government/business but unions are an absolute blight on society, and the teacher's union especially.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    It's absolutely the bureaucracy, and the reason its progressed to such a horrible level and nothing substantive can be done to change it is because of the teacher's unions. They like being one of the highest pay/qualification ratios in the US, having unassailable job security, and extensive political power and intend to make sure no one rocks the boat (unless its the "Teachers need more money!" kind of rocking, in which case if you disagree you hate children and are a Nazi).

    I'm really, really not usually one of those fuck the people, go government/business but unions are an absolute blight on society, and the teacher's union especially.

    Yeah . . .

    It wasn't actually the teacher's unions that created the situation. I'm not sure that it is worth talking to you about it though since your screeds against unions are making you sound like some crazy homeless guy yelling at no one in the street.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Which can be constructive and non-constructive depending on the situation.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.

    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    It's absolutely the bureaucracy, and the reason its progressed to such a horrible level and nothing substantive can be done to change it is because of the teacher's unions. They like being one of the highest pay/qualification ratios in the US, having unassailable job security, and extensive political power and intend to make sure no one rocks the boat (unless its the "Teachers need more money!" kind of rocking, in which case if you disagree you hate children and are a Nazi).

    I'm really, really not usually one of those fuck the people, go government/business but unions are an absolute blight on society, and the teacher's union especially.

    Yeah . . .

    It wasn't actually the teacher's unions that created the situation. I'm not sure that it is worth talking to you about it though since your screeds against unions are making you sound like some crazy homeless guy yelling at no one in the street.

    Sorry, I actually do have a huge chip on my shoulder about unions (I took a great negotiating class where our final project was working as management with a union tied to a real world situation, and by the ended I frankly did start foaming at the mouth a little whenever I heard the word union).

    What I was hoping to get across, besides the unions blow point, was that while the basic structure of our schooling system, which is less than ideal for a modern society, isn't the teacher's union's faulty, the extent to which things have degraded, by which I mean underqualified teachers and intractable bureaucracy, most certainly is. At this point it really is impossible to have an open and honest public discussion about what is wrong with our schools, and to suggest substantive changes to the current system, and I do place that burden of an unchangeable situation primarily on teacher's unions.

    That isn't at all to say I don't think there's absolutely a great discussion to be had about what can be done, in an ideal world, to improve America's education system. I just add the caveat that I nigh on guarantee that no matter how reasonable and effective a theoretical solution can be reached, it will never actually be implemented and I find that immensely frustrating on a personal level.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.

    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.

    Actually, and stressing my already admitted bias, I'm inclined to agree with Yar on this one. I worked my way through college installing networks during the summer, and for some reason we were unionized under the AFL-CIO. This is very much only one example, but the people I worked with were the laziest, most useless group of humans I've ever meet, and the owner of the company was physically unable to fire them for poor performance. At one point one of the other workers managed to hurt himself while taking a 2 hour break and playing touch football inside a construction zone (put his hand through a window) and not only was he not fired, but the union got him a hefty sum for his pain and suffering, as well as pay until he felt well enough to come back to work.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    At this point it really is impossible to have an open and honest public discussion about what is wrong with our schools, and to suggest substantive changes to the current system, and I do place that burden of an unchangeable situation primarily on teacher's unions.

    Actually it has degraded because in the '60s a push was made to give teachers more authority without raising the standards of their education which cause problems. A backlash resulted in which teachers were heavily marginalized and essentially told to just read off the lesson plans of the actually "competent" bureaucrats who designed them. Then in the late 80s to the present the current emphasis on idiotic standardized tests and punitive measures as a way of making sure we "get results". Every reform tries to solve the problem by creating another level of bureaucracy.

    So let's say that this is the problem. What do we need to do to fix it?

    1. Give the primary responsibility for designing and carrying out their own curriculum to teachers.
    2. Give teachers the training to do this and set high standards of education for new teachers entering the field.
    3. Pay teachers enough so that you can actually retain bright highly educated people.

    Now, there is no inherent reason these have to be sunk by teachers unions.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    Which can be constructive and non-constructive depending on the situation.
    Agreed.
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.
    The fact that firing you comes with a "check" doesn't exactly impress me a whole lot. You aren't actually being fired if you're still being paid.

    Regardless, I'd say that sounds about as draconian as unions get. In any cases I'm familiar with, union negotiators will get you your job back even if you are stealing from the company and even if you never lift a finger to do any work. I imagine that in your case they don't do this only because that check is the more attractive option.
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.
    I'm not sure what your understanding of my use of the word "balance" might be.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.

    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.

    Actually, and stressing my already admitted bias, I'm inclined to agree with Yar on this one. I worked my way through college installing networks during the summer, and for some reason we were unionized under the AFL-CIO. This is very much only one example, but the people I worked with were the laziest, most useless group of humans I've ever meet, and the owner of the company was physically unable to fire them for poor performance. At one point one of the other workers managed to hurt himself while taking a 2 hour break and playing touch football inside a construction zone (put his hand through a window) and not only was he not fired, but the union got him a hefty sum for his pain and suffering, as well as pay until he felt well enough to come back to work.

    That's an issue with individual companies, usually.

    Usually, especially on big jobs and state jobs, you have a general contractor who tries to coordinate sometimes over a -hundred- subcontractors. These subcontractors have to be treated as autonomous in the sense that their employees are NOT the GC's employees. You can only hire/fire your own employees.

    Anything involving the government is much worse, because then they can bitch and whine at the state instead of just some client who wants the job done.

    But WITHIN A COMPANY, you don't even have to hire union people, you just get more support if you do.

    Do not confuse employees and contractors.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    I cooked with a guy who was a postman once. He explained to me how the post office personel policies work.

    There's nothing to save there. The whole lot have to be burned to the ground and started over again. That's some classic inefficiency right there.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.

    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.

    Actually, and stressing my already admitted bias, I'm inclined to agree with Yar on this one. I worked my way through college installing networks during the summer, and for some reason we were unionized under the AFL-CIO. This is very much only one example, but the people I worked with were the laziest, most useless group of humans I've ever meet, and the owner of the company was physically unable to fire them for poor performance. At one point one of the other workers managed to hurt himself while taking a 2 hour break and playing touch football inside a construction zone (put his hand through a window) and not only was he not fired, but the union got him a hefty sum for his pain and suffering, as well as pay until he felt well enough to come back to work.

    That's an issue with individual companies, usually.

    Usually, especially on big jobs and state jobs, you have a general contractor who tries to coordinate sometimes over a -hundred- subcontractors. These subcontractors have to be treated as autonomous in the sense that their employees are NOT the GC's employees. You can only hire/fire your own employees.

    Anything involving the government is much worse, because then they can bitch and whine at the state instead of just some client who wants the job done.

    But WITHIN A COMPANY, you don't even have to hire union people, you just get more support if you do.

    Do not confuse employees and contractors.

    I'm a little confused as to what you're trying to get at here here, and I think we're talking at cross purposes. This entire discussion you are bringing up, and the examples you've given, are only relevant if all the employees are involved in a union. Of course the complaints we have about union interference and overall detriment to work aren't going to apply to situations were the workers aren't in a union.

  • NisslNissl Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Feral wrote:
    Only about 1-3% of pharma companies' revenue goes to the development of new drugs. If you compare our total R&D spending to GDP, we actually spend less proportionately than the UK, Sweden, or Switzerland. Basic R&D is very, very risky - consequently, pharma companies don't like to do it. When new mechanisms of action or new molecules are found, they're usually at least partially the result of public funding. We do spend a lot on health care. Where does the money go? 40-45% to administrative overhead, for one. We don't develop proportionately more drugs. European countries actually get better returns on R&D than we do, we just spend more on it because we as a nation have more money.

    (Hope I covered your main points in this quote.)

    Sure, it's proportionately more wasteful. However, in absolute terms universal health care will represent *some* reallocation of our resources away from R&D, even if we save much more on marketing and middle-managers and the like. That money is probably not going to go to the government and thus be directed back into basic R&D. So, R&D will ultimately slow slightly worldwide. It's probably a very good net tradeoff, but not a perfect one.

    360: Purkinje
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    Then in the late 80s to the present the current emphasis on idiotic standardized tests and punitive measures as a way of making sure we "get results".
    I get where you're coming from. But one of the most basic rules of management is that you cannot improve that which you cannot measure. The "puntive" part of what you're saying may have some merit, but we absolutely have to have some standard way of measuring whether or not education is successful.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Yar wrote:
    The fact that firing you comes with a "check" doesn't exactly impress me a whole lot. You aren't actually being fired if you're still being paid.

    It's for time/travel expenses. Lost opportunity and such. Even if your work is crappy, you still worked, and you still wasted gas.

    It's not like they get ten thousand dollars and a hug.
    Regardless, I'd say that sounds about as draconian as unions get. In any cases I'm familiar with, union negotiators will get you your job back even if you are stealing from the company and even if you never lift a finger to do any work. I imagine that in your case they don't do this only because that check is the more attractive option.

    Our company has a deal with a few of the unions.

    We'll still fire your ass is you're caught yapping instead of working.

    Never heard of any gruff from it.
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.
    I'm not sure what your understanding of my use of the word "balance" might be.[/quote]

    I'm guessing it's in the "Fair and Balanced" Fox sense, but I'm willing to allow that we just have differently-run unions in our respective areas.

    The ones I know of, while hardly perfect, do damn well. My dad's been in one for years, and he can retire and make more money from what he's put in to the union than most people make working their asses off.

    And he can do some work in addition.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • NisslNissl Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    So let's say that this is the problem. What do we need to do to fix it?

    1. Give the primary responsibility for designing and carrying out their own curriculum to teachers.
    2. Give teachers the training to do this and set high standards of education for new teachers entering the field.
    3. Pay teachers enough so that you can actually retain bright highly educated people.

    Why not add charter schools to the mix? That way, if certain districts fail to respond to these incentives, people can put their children somewhere decent and the non-performing schools will lose money.

    Also, what about not giving teachers tenure after 2 years? Give them at least a solid 5 year trial period.

    360: Purkinje
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    I've come around to universal healthcare and I'll tell you why - funding for medical R&D is politically defensible, so it is feasible that it can be done at acceptable levels.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    At this point it really is impossible to have an open and honest public discussion about what is wrong with our schools, and to suggest substantive changes to the current system, and I do place that burden of an unchangeable situation primarily on teacher's unions.

    Actually it has degraded because in the '60s a push was made to give teachers more authority without raising the standards of their education which cause problems. A backlash resulted in which teachers were heavily marginalized and essentially told to just read off the lesson plans of the actually "competent" bureaucrats who designed them. Then in the late 80s to the present the current emphasis on idiotic standardized tests and punitive measures as a way of making sure we "get results". Every reform tries to solve the problem by creating another level of bureaucracy.

    So let's say that this is the problem. What do we need to do to fix it?

    1. Give the primary responsibility for designing and carrying out their own curriculum to teachers.
    2. Give teachers the training to do this and set high standards of education for new teachers entering the field.
    3. Pay teachers enough so that you can actually retain bright highly educated people.

    Now, there is no inherent reason these have to be sunk by teachers unions.

    I'll allow you're background info to stand, with a note that I think there's a bit more to the general trends than you get into, but I don't think the detail is especially important.

    As to your suggestions:

    1) The teachers/teacher's unions would love this, but I don't agree that it would be an overall improvement to the system. One of the larger (though not largest) weaknesses in America's education system is how inconsistent it is. There is a glaring disparity between the value of an education not only from state to state, but even from region to region within that state. I think the execution has been incredibly poor so far, but raising the overall quality of education and creating some level of uniformity should be something we move towards, not away from.

    2) I think the unions would pitch an absolute fit over this one. The number one complaint I hear from people I know that have become teachers, and I believe the number 2 or 3 on most union negotiation lists, is how "hard" it already is to become a teacher, in terms of standards. I don't have the source, so take this with a grain of sand, but I believe that something like 75% of teachers come from the bottom 25% of their college graduating classes (or something close to those numbers), and this is what needs to change before we can see an overall improvement in teachers. The people that are currently teachers, and who make up the overwhelming bulk of the teacher's unions, would absolutely be opposed to the idea that they require more training to do their job, and would never let something like this pass.

    3) This I agree with in theory, but in practice I'm not sure I support. Teachers are already one of the highest paid professions in their communities (universally earning above average).To actually raise overall teacher's pay, one of two things needs to happen: (a) All teacher's salaries are raised, and this is a bad idea because paying the people are already doing a bad job more to continue doing so is just wasted money, and (b) Pay new teacher's more and gradually increase pay, and this won't work because the already established teachers would hit the roof if new teachers were allowed to earn more than their seniority allows (since this is how current teacher pay is predominently determined).

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.

    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.

    Actually, and stressing my already admitted bias, I'm inclined to agree with Yar on this one. I worked my way through college installing networks during the summer, and for some reason we were unionized under the AFL-CIO. This is very much only one example, but the people I worked with were the laziest, most useless group of humans I've ever meet, and the owner of the company was physically unable to fire them for poor performance. At one point one of the other workers managed to hurt himself while taking a 2 hour break and playing touch football inside a construction zone (put his hand through a window) and not only was he not fired, but the union got him a hefty sum for his pain and suffering, as well as pay until he felt well enough to come back to work.

    That's an issue with individual companies, usually.

    Usually, especially on big jobs and state jobs, you have a general contractor who tries to coordinate sometimes over a -hundred- subcontractors. These subcontractors have to be treated as autonomous in the sense that their employees are NOT the GC's employees. You can only hire/fire your own employees.

    Anything involving the government is much worse, because then they can bitch and whine at the state instead of just some client who wants the job done.

    But WITHIN A COMPANY, you don't even have to hire union people, you just get more support if you do.

    Do not confuse employees and contractors.

    I'm a little confused as to what you're trying to get at here here, and I think we're talking at cross purposes. This entire discussion you are bringing up, and the examples you've given, are only relevant if all the employees are involved in a union. Of course the complaints we have about union interference and overall detriment to work aren't going to apply to situations were the workers aren't in a union.

    Simply put, a construction-oriented union around here ultimately just cares that you can earn money for them, and that you are treated well enough for their efforts that you can afford to pay their fees.

    As such, they make you get an education so that you know your craft, and they keep the worker wage on a slow but steady increase so people whose jobs often involve serious health risks aren't falling -too- far behind people sit on their asses all day pushing paper (mind you, I'm the latter).

    They will help to protect you from getting fired for unfair reasons (Gender, race, religion, et cetera), but if you're fired for failing to do your job, they'll be happy to suggest someone to take your place.

    Heck, they even have the double gate system these days, so Unions aren't even as annoying when they're in conflict with the employers.

    Buuut, unions are a localized thing. I can only speak for the construction-oriented unions in the middle and coastal regions of California.

    Unions could be gang rape clubs in Denver, CO, for all I know.


    --

    On the schools thing, I think it might help if schools didn't get their funding based on local economies, but rather have it spread out evenly around the state. Kids shouldn't be fucked for education just because they live in a fucked area.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    My only point was that the general idea of unions is "hey, the employers and/or the customers are getting too much benefit from my hard work" and with teachers that means "hey, taxpayers and children are getting too much benefit from my hard work."

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    Yar wrote:
    Incenjucar wrote:
    The primary use of a union, at least in the construction industry, is to make sure that decent wages are paid and that getting hurt doesn't doom you to starvation, but they don't keep you from getting fired for being crappy at your job. People who can't keep up get fired and replaced damned quickly, but not just because someone will accept crappier pay.
    What you just said, minus the emotionally charged propaganda language, is this: "unions balance a market away from employers and customers and towards employees."

    And yes, they absolutely do keep you from being fired. That is, in practice, the number one priority of a union - to prevent and reverse any termination decisions.

    Kiddo, I work in the construction industry.

    Don't know how things work in your neck of the woods, but some of our people can cut you a check and fire you -on the spot-, and it is a power used liberally.

    Though I'd love to hear how they're unjustly compensated for a profession that can physically destroy your body even if you don't fall off a roof or buried in a collapsed trench.

    Actually, and stressing my already admitted bias, I'm inclined to agree with Yar on this one. I worked my way through college installing networks during the summer, and for some reason we were unionized under the AFL-CIO. This is very much only one example, but the people I worked with were the laziest, most useless group of humans I've ever meet, and the owner of the company was physically unable to fire them for poor performance. At one point one of the other workers managed to hurt himself while taking a 2 hour break and playing touch football inside a construction zone (put his hand through a window) and not only was he not fired, but the union got him a hefty sum for his pain and suffering, as well as pay until he felt well enough to come back to work.

    That's an issue with individual companies, usually.

    Usually, especially on big jobs and state jobs, you have a general contractor who tries to coordinate sometimes over a -hundred- subcontractors. These subcontractors have to be treated as autonomous in the sense that their employees are NOT the GC's employees. You can only hire/fire your own employees.

    Anything involving the government is much worse, because then they can bitch and whine at the state instead of just some client who wants the job done.

    But WITHIN A COMPANY, you don't even have to hire union people, you just get more support if you do.

    Do not confuse employees and contractors.

    I'm a little confused as to what you're trying to get at here here, and I think we're talking at cross purposes. This entire discussion you are bringing up, and the examples you've given, are only relevant if all the employees are involved in a union. Of course the complaints we have about union interference and overall detriment to work aren't going to apply to situations were the workers aren't in a union.

    Simply put, a construction-oriented union around here ultimately just cares that you can earn money for them, and that you are treated well enough for their efforts that you can afford to pay their fees.

    As such, they make you get an education so that you know your craft, and they keep the worker wage on a slow but steady increase so people whose jobs often involve serious health risks aren't falling -too- far behind people sit on their asses all day pushing paper (mind you, I'm the latter).

    They will help to protect you from getting fired for unfair reasons (Gender, race, religion, et cetera), but if you're fired for failing to do your job, they'll be happy to suggest someone to take your place.

    Heck, they even have the double gate system these days, so Unions aren't even as annoying when they're in conflict with the employers.

    Buuut, unions are a localized thing. I can only speak for the construction-oriented unions in the middle and coastal regions of California.

    Unions could be gang rape clubs in Denver, CO, for all I know.


    --

    On the schools thing, I think it might help if schools didn't get their funding based on local economies, but rather have it spread out evenly around the state. Kids shouldn't be fucked for education just because they live in a fucked area.

    See, that's exactly the kind of union that IS a good thing, but the issue (to my knowledge) is that this is very much a dieing, and I would have said already dead, breed. The general trend has been for smaller unions to get absorbed into the larger ones until there are relatively few large unions that cover large areas, effectively creating a strangle hold on labor in unionized fields, which in turn lets them negotiated increasingly pro-employee, anti-company contracts. While this is absolutely fine in theory, in most industries where there are still unions, this process continues and accelerates until you get things like factory workers with no education earning >$80k, and airlines at a bare minimum having to give pay raises in the double digit percentages to baggage handlers.

    What your union does is great. What it historically has tended to turn into is the death of their industries, and I personally have no idea how to balance the two.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    It's not that they're getting too much benefit, it's that they're not being compensated for it.

    You're using problematic language.

    "Too much benefit" implies doing shittier, rather than being paid more for the original quality of work.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    Nissl wrote:
    Why not add charter schools to the mix? That way, if certain districts fail to respond to these incentives, people can put their children somewhere decent and the non-performing schools will lose money.

    Well, two things:

    1. I personally like charter schools, I just don't see them as a main solution. Variety is good and I think it is to the best if a student has a range of schools and can choose one that fits him or her the best.

    2. I think we have to get away from the idea that what is really going to improve the education system or what is holding it back is the presence or absence of market forces. It masks an essentially punitive, non-constructive approach that ultimately makes reform more difficult. For instance, in a district near where I grew up a charter school opened. The attitude was to punish the main school by withdrawing funding for students sent to the charter school - so the two schools had an essentially adversarial relationship. The leadership of the public school harrassed, blocked and finally suceeded in closing the charter school.
    Also, what about not giving teachers tenure after 2 years? Give them at least a solid 5 year trial period.

    That sets up a confrontation with the teacher's union. What has been done successfully is to integrate a two year apprenticeship program into the graduation requirements of state teacher's colleges. This allows the people making staffing decisions to weed out the unfit before they become teachers.

    As for poor teachers who are already hired - let me say this. Very few resources are invested in the continuing education of teachers so that they can hone their craft. Additionally, their position within the system is so disempowered that they can be extremely unmotivated through no real fault of their own. I think if those problems were fixed, we would not have so many objectionably bad teachers that we automatically focused on our frustration with tenure and union anti-firing protections.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    you get things like factory workers with no education earning >$80k, and airlines at a bare minimum having to give pay raises in the double digit percentages to baggage handlers.
    And I can attest that this kind of stuff aboslutely goes on, even to a greater degree than you describe.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    See, that's exactly the kind of union that IS a good thing, but the issue (to my knowledge) is that this is very much a dieing, and I would have said already dead, breed. The general trend has been for smaller unions to get absorbed into the larger ones until there are relatively few large unions that cover large areas, effectively creating a strangle hold on labor in unionized fields, which in turn lets them negotiated increasingly pro-employee, anti-company contracts. While this is absolutely fine in theory, in most industries where there are still unions, this process continues and accelerates until you get things like factory workers with no education earning >$80k, and airlines at a bare minimum having to give pay raises in the double digit percentages to baggage handlers.

    What your union does is great. What it historically has tended to turn into is the death of their industries, and I personally have no idea how to balance the two.

    Agreed. Retail unions, while I can't vouch for their use, are certainly direly needed in some places right now.

    I was just objecting to the notion of unions being bad in and of themselves. They're very very important for keeping pay standards up. It's just that they're essentially a government, and governments corrupt insanely easily.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    werehippy wrote:
    See, that's exactly the kind of union that IS a good thing, but the issue (to my knowledge) is that this is very much a dieing, and I would have said already dead, breed. The general trend has been for smaller unions to get absorbed into the larger ones until there are relatively few large unions that cover large areas, effectively creating a strangle hold on labor in unionized fields, which in turn lets them negotiated increasingly pro-employee, anti-company contracts. While this is absolutely fine in theory, in most industries where there are still unions, this process continues and accelerates until you get things like factory workers with no education earning >$80k, and airlines at a bare minimum having to give pay raises in the double digit percentages to baggage handlers.

    What your union does is great. What it historically has tended to turn into is the death of their industries, and I personally have no idea how to balance the two.

    Agreed. Retail unions, while I can't vouch for their use, are certainly direly needed in some places right now.

    I was just objecting to the notion of unions being bad in and of themselves. They're very very important for keeping pay standards up. It's just that they're essentially a government, and governments corrupt insanely easily.

    I did try and make a point of adding that the basic duties of a small union (safe working conditions, protections, etc.) are important, but it probably got lost in my ARGARG FUCKINH UNIONZ, which comes from my running into what unions seem to inevitably turn into.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I think the sheer size of the construction industry makes it harder to corner completely, so it's harder to go nuts with it. It's broken up in to many many unions, non-union companies, and lots of independent contractors. That and much of it is outright transient in nature.

    Airports and teachers, not so much.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Teaching isn't exactly a profit industry. My point all along.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    1) The teachers/teacher's unions would love this, but I don't agree that it would be an overall improvement to the system. One of the larger (though not largest) weaknesses in America's education system is how inconsistent it is. There is a glaring disparity between the value of an education not only from state to state, but even from region to region within that state. I think the execution has been incredibly poor so far, but raising the overall quality of education and creating some level of uniformity should be something we move towards, not away from.

    Actually if you look at the most successful schools in underperforming districts they are the ones that have been granted an exception from the standardized statewide curriculum and allowed to creatively engage in their own teaching practice. The absence of overriding bureaucratic control, coupled with increase teacher capacity is the solution.

    A lot of times the problem with badly performing districts is that because they exist in poor area's they are under resourced. Then they are taken over by state level authorities with a similar attitude to the one you just expressed. Officials go in with the attitude that they will "make things work" and "demand results". Only "make things work" means regulating the practice of the teachers to death, removing all power over their practice from them. "Demanding results" means standardized testing that doesn't monitor real education, encourages districts to shuffle around underperforming kids so they aren't averaged into the total and teaching to the test.
    2) I think the unions would pitch an absolute fit over this one. The number one complaint I hear from people I know that have become teachers, and I believe the number 2 or 3 on most union negotiation lists, is how "hard" it already is to become a teacher, in terms of standards.

    Actually the bulk of teachers perform above average in college. In any case, unions don't represent people who haven't become teachers yet. For those who are already teaching you link increased pay to getting higher levels of formal education. Making sure that say, everyone has a masters in education and proficiency in two subjects is a good goal. The point is to use the carrot of getting paid 10k or 15k more for every step you take toward that.

    Another part of ongoing education is to have networks of teachers who evaluate and work with eachother to share knowledge and skills. Teachers actually usually appreciate that kind of engagement because it makes them more competent and makes their practice easier. There are a lot of teachers in this country who have actually never seen another teacher teach. They are isolated and there is no mechanism for their continued improvement.
    This I agree with in theory, but in practice I'm not sure I support. Teachers are already one of the highest paid professions in their communities (universally earning above average).

    The point here is to "professionalize" the teaching field in the same way that the law or medicine fields are professioinalized. Increased standards, increased authority, increased responsibility, increased pay.

    Once you cut out the bureaucrats and mid level managers who often make more than teachers anyway, this is pretty much a cost neutral transition.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    2. I think we have to get away from the idea that what is really going to improve the education system or what is holding it back is the presence or absence of market forces. It masks an essentially punitive, non-constructive approach that ultimately makes reform more difficult. For instance, in a district near where I grew up a charter school opened. The attitude was to punish the main school by withdrawing funding for students sent to the charter school - so the two schools had an essentially adversarial relationship. The leadership of the public school harrassed, blocked and finally suceeded in closing the charter school.

    See, its all a matter of perspective. Where you see "punitive," all I see is the inevitable result of loss of monopoly. Of COURSE there is going to be an adversarial relationship when there is more than one option, because they compete for a limited resource. Why should the public school continue getting the portion of funds devoted to the students that would have gone to the charter school? The fact that the public school quashed the charter school outside of the arena of actual merit isn't a flaw in the idea of competition, it's a flaw in the fact the public school had the power to do so.

    Essentially, I think the issue is that if we really want to change education, we actually have to change it, and the teachers have no motivation to support that. I loathe the idea that we have to be stuck with the current crop of shitty teachers for the rest of their lives, so I'm behind the idea of adding more competition and shaking things up, adding better teachers and shedding any of the old teachers that aren't up to snuff or can't improve as we can. It's isn't an issue of being punitive, though I can see why the teachers would want to frame it as such, but simply letting the same forces that work in every other aspect work in our education system where they are sorely needed.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Shinto wrote:
    Actually if you look at the most successful schools in underperforming districts they are the ones that have been granted an exception from the standardized statewide curriculum and allowed to creatively engage in their own teaching practice.
    If they are exempt from standards, how do you know they are the more successful?

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    werehippy wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    2. I think we have to get away from the idea that what is really going to improve the education system or what is holding it back is the presence or absence of market forces. It masks an essentially punitive, non-constructive approach that ultimately makes reform more difficult. For instance, in a district near where I grew up a charter school opened. The attitude was to punish the main school by withdrawing funding for students sent to the charter school - so the two schools had an essentially adversarial relationship. The leadership of the public school harrassed, blocked and finally suceeded in closing the charter school.

    See, its all a matter of perspective. Where you see "punitive," all I see is the inevitable result of loss of monopoly. Of COURSE there is going to be an adversarial relationship when there is more than one option, because they compete for a limited resource. Why should the public school continue getting the portion of funds devoted to the students that would have gone to the charter school? The fact that the public school quashed the charter school outside of the arena of actual merit isn't a flaw in the idea of competition, it's a flaw in the fact the public school had the power to do so.

    Essentially, I think the issue is that if we really want to change education, we actually have to change it, and the teachers have no motivation to support that. I loathe the idea that we have to be stuck with the current crop of shitty teachers for the rest of their lives, so I'm behind the idea of adding more competition and shaking things up, adding better teachers and shedding any of the old teachers that aren't up to snuff or can't improve as we can. It's isn't an issue of being punitive, though I can see why the teachers would want to frame it as such, but simply letting the same forces that work in every other aspect work in our education system where they are sorely needed.

    So basically the way I feel is this:

    1. Your proposed reforms create structural resistance that can only be overcome through some kind of massive reform push that isn't likely to materialize, whereas mine is much easier to impliment.

    2. The results of your approach have not really been shown to provide results except where the schools involved have employed my methods. What limited success charter schools have had has been through their liberation from curriculum regulation and teacher empowerment allowing them to creatively engage in their work.

    I know it is killing you, but competition isn't really the silver bullet here. Comparitively painless structural reforms are.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    Yar wrote:
    Shinto wrote:
    Actually if you look at the most successful schools in underperforming districts they are the ones that have been granted an exception from the standardized statewide curriculum and allowed to creatively engage in their own teaching practice.
    If they are exempt from standards, how do you know they are the more successful?

    Their kids still have to take standardized tests. Their schools do not however have to follow the standarized lesson plans and other regulations that control how the teaching is done and the school is operated.

Sign In or Register to comment.