Why Are You Reading This????

Do you read internet news articles? Do you read blogs? Do you ever post comments on what you read? I read some news articles and a few blogs but I never post anything to either of them. Why? I’m not sure. I certainly have opinions about them. Maybe it’s because I’m always curious about the people who write certain responses. I wonder about the cynics and the bullies. I imagine people sitting at their computers all day, waiting for someone to write something that they could criticize.

Note the article below. A local teacher wins a prize for his quality teaching. Now read the comments (comments, by the way, that were written just two hours after the posting). Some of them are congratulatory, some are critical of teachers, and some are critical of the critical (which, existentially, is what I am being right now…).

It bugs me when people turn a positive announcement into a platform for their sociological or political views. It bugs me when people are uncivil to each other when they are commenting on positive stories….or negative stories, for that matter. Maybe that’s what I’m really bugged about: how uncivil people seem to have become because they are filtered by the anonymity of the internet.

So, within two hours of this posting comments such as these appear. Are the writers sitting at their computers just waiting for stories to appear so they can attack them? Would someone please enlighten me as to what this is all about? I’m eager to understand what drives people to do this.

By the way, congrats to the teacher. He sounds like a cool guy.

Middle school math teacher wins $25,000

Seth Brown, a math teacher at Wayzata West Middle School, won a $25,000 educator award in a surprise ceremony at the school Monday morning.

The award was presented in the school gym, where fellow teachers and students cheered and clapped as Brown’s jaw dropped as his name was announced. He was quickly mobbed by students.

“What an honor. This is awesome,” he said.

Brown, 31, is a graduate of St. John’s University and has taught in Wayzata schools for his entire10-year career. He is known for his innovative teaching and use of technology in the classroom, including iPods. He said he decided to teach math because it is one of the subjects a lot of students have trouble with.

“I ask a lot of questions,” he said. “It’s not really instructing; it’s a lot of inquiry. We talk about what students might need to solve a problem and how to do it differently.”

Brown said he will use the $25,000 to help pay for graduate school and will give a gift to the middle school’s PTA, which supported his iPod project by buying a couple of the devices.

The unrestricted award is from the Milken Family Foundation of Santa Monica, Calif., which has distributed more than $63 million in cash to more than 2,500 teachers over the past 24 years.

Often called “the Oscars of teaching,” the Milken Awards were developed in 1987 to recognize outstanding teachers and encourage young people to enter the profession.

Mary Jane Smetanka, MPLS StarTribune 10/10/11

What does he teach?! Just a little short on actual information, Strib. Great he is being recognized, but it would a story if there was some actual substance…

Thank you, Seth Brown, for the lives you’ve touched and transformed. So glad to see good teachers rewarded.

Congratulations Seth, now the jealousy will start. Most teachers feel that everyone should be paid the same, I disagree, some are simply better than others and deserve a bonus!

Read the first line of the story. “Seth Brown, a math teacher at Wayzata West Middle School, won a $25,000 educator award in a surprise ceremony at the school Monday morning.”

In the first sentence it states Brown is a math teacher. (Maybe the article was updated since you pointed out the missing info?)

I’ve watched him in action and agree this is a good choice. He is one of many Wayzata K-12 teachers who could have won this award. Its not so difficult to support schools when you are supporting teachers like this. (Math, silly, second word after his name in the body of the article. Read more than headlines, please)

“Most teachers feel that everyone should be paid the same” How do you know this? Are you a teacher? Didn’t think so.

Do bad teachers get money taken away?

Weird, it takes a private sector foundation to reward good teachers… Can we learn something from this? Not according to the unions…Top of Form

Congratulations to him. Maybe now he can afford to live in Wayzata as well as teach there.

…maybe you missed the first sentence of the article? It says he teaches math.

Good for him, He probably deserves, does he deserve it more than other teaches that have dedicated their lives to our children?? Probably not!! But what kills me here is that he seriously he gets recognition for the IPod use?? Now he is going to purchase some for the PTA… That’s amazing (sarcasm). I personally would love the slap the IPad, IPod, Cell Phones and etc… out of these young kids hands.. They seriously do not even know how to communicate these days with out them. My neighbor kid of 2 houses away sends me text messages to see if he can come and swim in my pool… Cannot even walk two houses to ask. Then when he is at the pool he sits on the side and texts his friends. Then actually texts me in the house to if he can have some more friends come over to hang out…

He should be tested for performance enhancers immediately.

I’m sure he absolutely deserves this award but, does anyone know the statistics of the recipients of these awards? Are the majority of teachers from inner city schools or rural areas where there are no funds for each student to possess an iPod? If the situation is what I think it is (where a district like Wayzata would probably have a budget that can include iPods), then it’ll be nice to see a teacher be awarded from a school district where fancy resources are out of the question. BUT, nonetheless, I’m sure Mr. Brown is very deserving of the reward.

You people leaving a thumbs down on my post do yourself a favor and next time you are in the supermarket, grocery store, anywhere look around you and count how many kids are on a phone, Ipod, texting, tweeting (i am at grocery store with mom) etc…. Better yet it is probably easier to count the kids that are not on these…. Then again these are probaly your kids and you do not mind because then they are not bugging you for something..

Yes I was a teacher for many years and I have been a school board member. Some teachers support bonus pay, others prefer that everyone is paid the same, mostly die-hard union members. My comment was meant to be pro-change on the salary front for teachers. Reward them if they go out there way to teach and improve education. Some teachers beat the kids out the door at 3:15 and how do I know that, I watched it out my classroom windown happen every day!

Good teachers seek to understand how kids think, what motivates and inspires them, and how to meet kids where they are and help them improve. We can debate whether iPod’s and iPhone’s are beneficial to society or not, and I tend to agree with you that they often are not. That doesn’t change the fact that these devices are very influential in kids lives, and a good teacher will understand that influence and use it to his or her advantage, not just scold kids and “slap them out of these young kids hands.”

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October 31, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

St. Paul to Give Struggling Schools a Boost

On Sunday, September 25th, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported how St. Paul Public Schools are “looking to give its struggling schools a boost.” In the article Mila Koumpilova goes on to explain how “instead of distributing money to the schools based on enrollment numbers, Minnesota’s second-largest district is forging new territory by factoring in demographics and performance of students in the district’s roughly 70 schools and programs. The goal is to give schools that face the highest hurdles extra resources to help them catch up.”

Do you think this plan is a sound idea? Does the district have a responsibility to fund schools based on their needs? If this plan is followed through, my guess is there will be quite a few upset parents who want what is best for their children. Is this still a responsible decision for the district to make?

Although my knowledge of school policy is limited, I do believe that children deserve an equal start in life or an education that is comparable to other children.

As a former St. Paul teacher, I was always amazed at the inequities that exist between the district’s schools and these inequities pale between the differences between district to district and between state to state. Children in our country do not have access to an equal education. These inequities go back to the time of our Constitution, which did not include education and therefore is a power reserved for the states. Wealthier districts have a greater tax base to support education than poorer districts and if a financially secure neighborhood wants their school to have something new, they can often find ways to raise the money that are not possible in a poorer district.

Will the St. Paul School District decision help to provide greater equity between schools and is this a decision that should not only be made in St. Paul, but a decision that should be made nationwide?

Please offer any insights or opinions you have regarding this decision.

October 1, 2011. Uncategorized. 2 comments.