sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
So, I was watching HLN and they had some blurb where this guy was talking with Anderson Cooper about tying teacher pay to student performance. His argument was that if a teacher was really good and could "prove it," "we'd pay them 6-figures." His example involved a math person with a masters thinking about working for Microsoft for $200,000 a year or teaching if a district had the power to offer that kind of money.

Yeah right.

I'd LOVE to see a school district promise that kind of pay and actually deliver. It's SO EASY to make stupid statements like that and have people actually believe you and think it's a good idea. How about we stop and think about how many school districts have said that they are cutting their budgets, cutting their staff or who are bankrupt right now? Do THEY have the cash to shop for the "best" teachers and promise them that kind of pay? If they don't have enough money to buy books or pay for janitors [I'm looking at you Pittsburgh Public Schools], they sure as hell aren't going to hire someone for over $100k a year. It's NOT going to HAPPEN. I don't care HOW good they are. Many school districts can barely afford paying teachers $30-50,000 a year. So, unless this country gets more serious about investing in education, you really can't back up promises of 6-figure salaries even if the teacher is totally awesome. I KNOW I'm a kick ass art teacher but there isn't a public school district in the US that would pay me more than $100,000 to do it 9_9 (even with a Doctorate and 30+ years of experience my salary would currently cap out at about $89,900 and that's with the federal government ;p ).

Now, let's say that some struggling districts decide to change it up and start hiring only the "BEST" teachers. In order to pay them all a wage like that they probably couldn't afford as many. So, you'd probably have to sacrifice the teacher:student ratio and turn it into something ridiculous like 1:90. That means more lecturing, more student group work (so they can sort things out themselves, or NOT), and less one-on-on contact. Let's see how long you retain those great teachers or how long they can keep it up when they are outnumbered because you can't afford as many.

Think of it this way:

one awesome teacher = $150,000 each
three average/above average teachers = $50,000 each [high estimate, as some districts only pay $27,000 a year]

Which option do you think most districts will choose?

I also see this as a way of "punishing" those who are good at what they can do. If I can get three average/above average people for the price of one awesome one, I might be tempted to have more "bodies" from a budget/financial standpoint. Also, imagine how much it would hurt you to disclose that District A paid you $100,000 a year when applying to District B who might only want to pay you $50,000... you'd never get hired again.

The other ugly side of this is how many school districts would try to give a favorable teacher an unfavorable review just so they could have an excuse to decrease their salary? I suppose the idea is if the "test scores" are high then the teacher must be good and I guess that is supposed to be your "proof." Would that "proof" be enough to counter false claims? Or would they come up with some ridiculous counter argument like "Oh well, only 95% of your students are operating in the top two standard deviations you need 97% to get that salary range..." What about teachers who aren't directly tied to test scores (specialists like Art, Music and PE?) How do you judge who is a good art or PE teacher? By how much the students like them? By the quality of the student work? By examining lesson plans for content standards? If test scores are the only measure, then this would just encourage people to teach to the test even more.

So many districts are struggling financially. I just don't see this being a viable option or valid argument unless we put more money in education. This comment that I heard doesn't sound like anything more than some guy dreaming of big salaries. I wish I had seen the rest of the interview (they were only sharing that snippet) because I'd like to hear if there were any financial counter-arguments. Because I just don't see the money. I'd want them to show me the money because that extra cash for high performance must come from SOMEWHERE. I want to know what/who they'd cut in order to pay for this.
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
So, I had a couple appointments today-- to try and get some of those annoying necessities out of the way. I saw a gynecologist, (which not only made me give a urine sample but took blood too O_O; I never had one ask for all THAT). She seemed nice enough though and I think I wouldn't mind seeing her again. (Her last name is Chappelle-- though she pronounces it like "chapel." Before I went, I kept imagining a Dave Chappelle comedy routine where he's giving gynecological exams XD )

I also went to a new dentist (since I haven't been to one since I moved to GA). The office was ok if a LITTLE pricey (are they ever really cheap?)... The cleaning and care was ok too and the X-rays show I have no cavities (yay).

However, this particular dentist wanted to give me a hard sell on getting my teeth whitened. Now, I'll admit, I'd LOVE to have whiter teeth. But I never tried doing it because I have a broken front tooth that was repaired when I was a kid. The repair job is probably about 15-18 years old and has held up really well. It, however, makes it impossible to whiten my teeth without it being a convoluted mess.

This guy wanted to do about $1,350 worth of work on my teeth xx; He wanted to 1) whiten them with this "home" bleaching kit where they make an impression of my teeth and send me home to do the rest. Cost: $350. 2) put a porcelain veneer on my "broken" tooth instead of the bonding that is there because that will never whiten up properly. Cost: $1,000 (for one freaking tooth OMG!)

I made a face when he said $1,000 and he said that he might be able to just redo the bonding on my tooth to lighten it up for about $250-$300... which is more cost effective.

I told him I'd have to talk to my husband about that :P (man that's a good excuse!)

I went home and did some research and I'm pretty confident that I would NOT want to waste my money on a veneer. The upkeep is... well, annoying. I know I clench my teeth at night on occasion when stressed and this can crack it. I bite my nails sometimes (though not with that tooth because it's bonded already) but this can ALSO chip/break the veneer. They stain with coffee, tea and/or tobacco... soooo in a few years the thing would probably be yellow ANYWAY. They can't un-stain them, just replace them (for another $1,000 I imagine). And the cement that holds them on, tends to yellow too...

Yeah, this sounds like an option for people who can throw away money on a lot of nonsense and upkeep ;p Oh and they said they might last 10 years or more but because they are so new no one is sure... (yeah another $1,000 in 10 years sounds like a crappy investment).

It's not that I wouldn't LOVE to whiten my teeth, I just think... that it'd be a lot of money for little return. They are going to yellow again ANYHOW. I mean unless my teeth get so bad I look like the Bride of Frankenstein here, I don't see any reason to blow that much money on them right now <<;

Another issue I see with this is the usual, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" I'm TERRIFIED that if I decide to fuck with that bonded tooth then BAD things will happen. I'm not even just talking about the veneers here-- I mean this thing has lasted me a LONG TIME. Which means my dentist did a kick ass job on it. I'm worried that if I let this dude mess with it or redo it then I'll be SORRY.

I dunno... my dentist in Pittsburgh was always a straight forward no-nonsense dentist. He kinda took into consideration that people aren't made of money so he only told you what you HAD to do. He never made a big deal out of my teeth being a little "yellow."

I'm feeling like this is not something I want to worry about at this time... Though, the whole him making an issue out of it makes me a little self-conscious :\

White teeth would be nice... I'm just not sure I'm willing to risk the potential hassle :p


sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)

January 2015

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