When and how should we open schools?

Louis

Private citizen
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14,431
Also I’m not sure if there’s an illusion that I’m in a “high-income suburb,” but just to clarify, median family income in my district was $55k in the last census, and enough of our district qualifies for Federal reduced-price lunch that the entire district qualifies.
Sorry if it seemed like I was picking on you; I was making a general comment inspired in part (but not totally) by your post. I applaud you for wanting the best for your kids. I recognize that neither you nor any parent can change the unfair system we have, only work it the best you can. :Respec:

Because there's no way to equitably decide "merit."
I'm not sure why it would be different than any other job? It will always be subjective and based on a combination of outcomes, considering the circumstances, and evaluations.

I would like to see school districts have power to pay more to teach the "difficult" classes, and/or to award bonuses to teachers who produce exceptional outcomes. Especially in areas like special education, I've seen the really good teachers be 20x as effective as the ordinary ones. Yet get paid the same or less than the teachers mailing it in on the "easy" classes.

The windows in my school do not open. And there are minimal doors in the building as it is a three story building.
Wow. Did not think that would even comply with fire code.....
 

MsZem

Well-Known Member
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13,174
The windows in my school do not open. And there are minimal doors in the building as it is a three story building.
Wow. Did not think that would even comply with fire code.....
The high school I went to in Oregon had almost no windows in the classrooms, only (IIRC) in some of the hallways, the cafeteria and the art studio. One time there was a power out and they had to send everyone home because it was too dark to teach classes.

They've probably added some new, better ventilated buildings since, but it would be hard to do much with the rest.
 

concorde

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446
Growing up in Alabama, we had walls of windows in the classroom. All window could be opened because we had no AC. As soon as the AC were installed in the schools, those window were essentially dry walled over because the windows were not energy efficient.

I still find it strange to hear that school close due to lack of AC.
 

Prancer

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Wow. Did not think that would even comply with fire code.....
IME, older buildings have windows that open, but far worse ventilation systems; newer buildings have sealed windows. And by newer, I mean schools that were built in my lifetime. If a school was built with air-conditioning, you probably can't open the windows. If it doesn't have air conditioning or air conditioning was added later, you probably can.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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Nebraska does this, too. And it's fine. Because there's no way to equitably decide "merit." Test scores? Sometimes you just get a bad class. Does the teacher who teaches only honors classes deserve a higher raise than the ones who work with struggling kids? For the most part, bad teachers don't last that long. (I'm not saying they never last. I'm saying, for the most part, they weed themselves out.)
Oh, bad teachers can stay for a very long time. Do you know I don't think who they teach (like honors) has much to do with merit. It is how they teach. Are the kids engaged?

I was President of the Board of a small group of schools. It is almost impossible to let a teacher go. I bet someone, somewhere can figure out how to measure merit. Boy Scouts? lol. Of course, if we switched longevity for merit we might end up with COP...and that would be bad.
 

AxelAnnie

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I get that. But if a school is going to split the students into different groups, then it seems to me the school cannot reasonably do that without hiring more teachers.

Because there is quite a bit of research showing that for online education to be successful, there must be an actively engaged teacher in charge of the class--and that is for adults who have self-selected their courses.

And do you read voluntarily, because it's something you enjoy? Do you really think that's a good analogy for kids taking classes online?

Have you ever taken any online classes? Have you taken online classes in subjects you have no interest in or in classes that are challenging for you?

Try it for yourself--as an adult, no less, with self-discipline AND motivation--and see how well you do. There are a lot of MOOCs around--pick one in a subject you find both boring and hard and see how you do.
Yes I have taken online classes, and they are horrid. That doesn't mean they have to be.
I do agree that teachers need to be actively involved, and so do the parents. With the money not

Two of my grandsons have taken online classes...I think they went on vacation or something and had to make up the work. They each enjoyed it. The 10 year old was able to email his teacher with questions. He would submit his work and get feedback.

The 7 year old....well he is 7. He did all the work he needed to do. I was at their home watching the kids, who were doing homework. Then I hear "Hey Google! What's 12 - 4" He gets points for ingenuity!

One thing I am curious about is with no costs for running the buildings, running the busses, going on field trips, etc., etc., why could not that money be applied to pay teachers to oversee the online learning?
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
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26,959
@Louis our special ed teachers are paid at a higher rate than a "regular" teacher.

@AxelAnnie I've seen the teaching evaluation rubrics and they do look a bit like COP, lol.

Here's the thing: everyone knows who the bad teachers are. The other teachers know, the kids know, admin knows. The issue is if anyone has the will to do anything about it. My district has gotten rid of several bad teachers, and put others on improvement plans (these work a bit, especially if there is specific guidance given).

The other issue my school has is the worst teacher is also the best coach, with multiple sports state titles. No way will the district get rid of that teacher.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
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35,352
Try it for yourself--as an adult, no less, with self-discipline AND motivation--and see how well you do. There are a lot of MOOCs around--pick one in a subject you find both boring and hard and see how you do.
Or even a subject you find fun. :D

It will always be that.
I hope not. It's past time for a change in this area.

Oh, bad teachers can stay for a very long time. Do you know I don't think who they teach (like honors) has much to do with merit. It is how they teach. Are the kids engaged?
But how do you measure that? I work in industry so I am paid according to "merit" and it's hard enough here to do it well. I know some of the limitations schools operate under and I just don't see how such a system would work as much as it sounds great in theory.

One thing I am curious about is with no costs for running the buildings, running the busses, going on field trips, etc., etc., why could not that money be applied to pay teachers to oversee the online learning?
According to the School Board meeting I went to on Wed where the Budget was the main agenda item, many of these costs have not gone away. Buildings still have rent due (where leasing) or (more often) mortgage payments. They still need maintenance. They still often need the water and electricity to stay on (for various reasons). They are also trying not to lay people off if they can help it.

OTOH, they do have a training budget. So instead of having in-service hoola hooping, they can train them in how to teach effectively online.

My district has gotten rid of several bad teachers, and put others on improvement plans (these work a bit, especially if there is specific guidance given).
I think putting people on a PIP is a great way to get rid of them. :D

Nothing can get rid of the mediocre who do just enough, don't break any rules, and don't care though. If they don't care as long as you pay them, then even being on a PIP won't work.
 

Prancer

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50,109
One thing I am curious about is with no costs for running the buildings, running the busses, going on field trips, etc., etc., why could not that money be applied to pay teachers to oversee the online learning?
Are we talking about different things again?

My post was made in response to a post about a school district that planned to offer prepackaged online classes that may or may not be supported by teachers while at the same time offering F2f classes. The same school district will have teachers in the classroom. No money will be saved here; more money will be spent, regardless of what they do with the online classes.

I was saying that prepackaged classes with no teacher support will not succeed. Apparently you agree with this.

What is your point?
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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I was saying that prepackaged classes with no teacher support will not succeed. Apparently you agree with this.

What is your point?
I did agree with that 100%. My point was that the teachers can be paid to support the students as they go thought the prepackaged classes. I am assuming that a school would not do an either / or situation. Since the teachers won't be teaching in the classroom, they could teach online.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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MacMadam

" So instead of having in-service hoola hooping, they can train them in how to teach effectively online"

Made me laugh the coffee right out of my mouth!
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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22,601
The high school I went to in Oregon had almost no windows in the classrooms, only (IIRC) in some of the hallways, the cafeteria and the art studio. One time there was a power out and they had to send everyone home because it was too dark to teach classes.

They've probably added some new, better ventilated buildings since, but it would be hard to do much with the rest.
My building is four years old. It has central air to the entire building. Windows don’t open so students don’t jump/climb/throw things out. That’s why windows in lots of schools don’t open.
 

ballettmaus

Well-Known Member
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14,330
The high school I went to in Oregon had almost no windows in the classrooms, only (IIRC) in some of the hallways, the cafeteria and the art studio. One time there was a power out and they had to send everyone home because it was too dark to teach classes.
The school I went to in southern Virginia had several classrooms without any windows. I think I had only one class in a room with windows, the rest of the classrooms were all on the inside.


My building is four years old. It has central air to the entire building. Windows don’t open so students don’t jump/climb/throw things out. That’s why windows in lots of schools don’t open.
It won't keep them from throwing things outside but the school could place bars/a banister in front of the windows to keep students from climbing or jumping out. (I know that's more expensive but fresh air is important.)
 

once_upon

New condo owner
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15,042
My kids are in their 30s and I don't believe the windows opened in any of their classrooms. Several of their classes were interior rooms with no windows. A couple of their smaller classes were held in what, in less crowded schools, would have been a large storage area.

I think fire codes are that there are multiple exits from the building, not multiple exits from rooms or floors (maybe two stairwells on the floors).

Plus I think for active shooter plans they have one door per classroom so the shooter can't enter from more than one entrance point.

Speaking about active shooters...how do you do an active shooter drill and maintain distance?
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
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26,959
It won't keep them from throwing things outside but the school could place bars/a banister in front of the windows to keep students from climbing or jumping out. (I know that's more expensive but fresh air is important.)
One of my plans if there was ever a school shooting was to send the kids out the windows. But then when they put "bulletproof" glass in (it's not; it's just shatter proof), they made it so the windows don't open. :rolleyes: But I bought one of those hammers for use in a car to break the glass, and I always make sure the kids know where it is.

So I wouldn't want bars, is what I'm saying. :)
 

Matryeshka

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Sometimes "bad teachers" have other qualities that do add to the school. For example, we had a World Geo teacher that was a horrible World Geo teacher, but led the football team from being second to last to being runner-up for state his FIRST YEAR. We've had bad teachers who are good people--our ACT/Math/Finance teacher in all honesty was not great at his subject but he LOVES the kids, and he makes them feel good about themselves, and they feel more comfortable talking to him than the counselors. That has value. My department head is actually not a great teacher but he's a great leader, and a great advocate for the students AND the teachers. He argues for what we want, not the admin. He runs Student Council, and unlike most schools, our student council is no joke. It's not something you just put on a resume--they practically run the school, and he inspires these kids to give up their mornings, their Saturdays, etc. for school improvement projects that will never, ever show up on a CV or a resume, but they do it cause they love him. In some ways, that's more important than his rather dismal track record for AP Government.

I, OTOH, am an excellent teacher. You want objective, merit-based teaching? I'm your girl. My AP scores are through the freaking roof, and their English teachers sigh in relief when they get me as their History teacher. Within two years, we held state level positions in Model UN and YMCA Leg. But you know what I'm not? A feel-good, huggy, supportive, go to all the games type teacher. I am an expert in my field but as for the whole development of a child...well... :shuffle: I'm organized and efficient--which is why I'm the class sponsor and one of the leads on Retreats--but I do not want to hear about your feelings, or your break ups, how you scored the winning goalie thing in sportsball, or know your cat's name. And kids need BOTH types of educators.
 

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
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I did agree with that 100%. My point was that the teachers can be paid to support the students as they go thought the prepackaged classes. I am assuming that a school would not do an either / or situation. Since the teachers won't be teaching in the classroom, they could teach online.
Except that as both I and the poster who started this line of discussion have said more than once, the teachers WILL be teaching in the classroom. I even said that in the post you just responded to.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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Except that as both I and the poster who started this line of discussion have said more than once, the teachers WILL be teaching in the classroom. I even said that in the post you just responded to.
Sorry for the confusion. There are many options out there. I missed either home / or at the school bit. That actually makes no sense to me. I suspect sustaining that would be horribly difficult....financially, emotionally, and educationally.
 

Dobre

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Several of us posted about the YMCA overnight camp in Georgia with the ********* outbreak. Apparently someone did a study on it with possible repercussions for schools. (I am just assuming it is the same camp).

Here is the report:

Here is the Washington Post article about the report:


Helpful-hint teacher suggestion from Facebook:

Mounting tissue boxes upside down from the ceiling so that kids won't touch the box:

Among other news today here, we learned that kids below 18 make up 10% of ********* cases in the state of Oregon. There are also 4 daycare outbreaks in the state. I don't know if daycares are like businesses & need to have 5 or more cases to make the state list, but I think probably yes.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
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35,352
This is group whose mailing list I am on who are working to address education gaps in Oakland. They ran an successful online Summer School that other groups in the country are looking to model:


And here is another article about pods:


One of my work colleagues is getting a nanny for her kids. She seemed somewhat embarrassed about it.

The school I went to in southern Virginia had several classrooms without any windows. I think I had only one class in a room with windows, the rest of the classrooms were all on the inside.
In my Elementary school in PA in the 60s, the windows opened. All the buildings are single story. My kids' Elementary School in CA is the same. Both buildings were probably built in the early 60s.

There are modular buildings and I think the windows in them open too but I wouldn't swear to it.

or know your cat's name.
:eek: How can you not want to know every cat's name?! :eek:

;)
 

Dobre

Well-Known Member
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7,527
Outdoor classrooms were even more common in northern Europe during this time period, as a way to prevent spread of illness. They went out of fashion when we got antibiotics.
Thank you for the link.

My great-grandmother had tuberculosis & her husband screened in the porch so that she could sleep there.

Many, many years later, my grandma had a set of x-rays done & the doctor asked my grandma when she had had tuberculosis.

She said, "Oh, my mother had it; but I never had it."

And he said, "Yes, you did."
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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22,601
It won't keep them from throwing things outside but the school could place bars/a banister in front of the windows to keep students from climbing or jumping out. (I know that's more expensive but fresh air is important.)
I mean, they’re not going to re-do every single window in our giant, gorgeous, brand new high school in order to make it so that the windows open but they have bars on them. That wouldn’t stop things from being dropped out windows, the cost would be insane, it would make the school look like a prison, and the optics would be terrible.
 
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once_upon

New condo owner
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15,042
That wouldn’t stop things from being dropped out windows, the cost would be insane, it would make the school look like a prison, and the optics would be terrible.
Yeah, given a challenge teenage kids will do anything. I can only imagine what my "I assumed were good kids, but apparently there is video evidence of that assumption not being correct" would do to drop things out a window from the third floor. Or sh$t they might have dropped.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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22,601
Montgomery County, MD ordered private schools to stay closed for in-person instruction. https://wtop.com/montgomery-county/...d-to-remain-closed-for-in-person-instruction/
Yeah, I think people are thinking that the private schools will be able to do whatever they want, which isn't true. There may be people who pay for private school and still get online education. Which is fine if you wanted to pay for private school either way, but if you are paying for it because you think it will mean in person schooling, the state government can still close them.
 

ballettmaus

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14,330
Yeah, I think people are thinking that the private schools will be able to do whatever they want, which isn't true. There may be people who pay for private school and still get online education. Which is fine if you wanted to pay for private school either way, but if you are paying for it because you think it will mean in person schooling, the state government can still close them.
Aside from the rising numbers in neighboring counties, they're probably afraid that with the increase in interest in private schools, they'll find ways to pack their schools and maybe not enforce the rules as they may not want to anger parents (I know my mom's school would likely be one of those schools. I'm still not over the fact that some students drove around the parking lot wielding a fake gun after one of the more recent mass shootings (and after the school had a lockdown because there was a shooter in the area a couple of years ago) and there were no consequences).
 

Dobre

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7,527
Indiana student tests positive for *********-19 on first day of school

(Me wondering how many parents rethought sending their kids to that school after the first day).
 

MsZem

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13,174
I've written this before and I'll do so again: we are not going to get the risk down to 0 until there's a vaccine, and possibly not even then. Which means that societies will have to live with this, and make tradeoffs between different risks. Obviously, the CV is the most salient risk at the moment, but there are lot of other damaging outcomes that can ensue from prioritizing certain mitigation strategies, so this has to be weighed carefully. I'd argue that at the very least kids with special needs and younger children require some in-person instruction.

Israel's second wave, spread via schools, has been brought up a lot. But it's worth keeping in mind that Israel didn't just reopen schools, it did so in an irresponsible manner - full, crowded classes and a week of no masks indoors even for teenagers. This should be a model of how not to open schools, not a reason to keep them shut down completely.

The situation in Israel is now under some measure of control. This was accomplished with schools out for summer, but without a full lockdown and with early childhood education up to kindergarten still ongoing (younger kids get a break only during part of August). It was an imperfect situation to say the least; there were families that had to quarantine due to a case in their child's school, and one kindergarten teacher died - a number of parents didn't follow the rules, and she got sick. This should never have happened, and it should make it clear to parents that they have responsibility towards others and to spare their children potential trauma. Overall, however, Israel's example is instructive in more than one way.
 

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