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‘Waiting for Superman’ was an eye-opener for school supporter



Published: Thu, June 2, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

‘Waiting for Superman’ was an eye-opener for school supporter

I recently attended the state- wide screening of “Waiting for Superman” at Southwoods Commons, here in Boardman. As someone, who supports our public school system and was highly skeptical of the message the movie would portray, I walked away greatly impressed and motivated to make a change.

One of the most enlightening moments of the whole film was when they talked about the D.C. city schools and the union’s reluctance to provide a choice for teachers to accept merit pay over tenure.

The deal was that teachers would get paid twice as much under merit pay, while forfeiting tenure. On the other side of the coin a teacher could choose to retain tenure and remain on a pay scale; the bottom line was teachers would be given a choice and incentive. Rather than even letting teachers exercise their democratic right to vote, the union declined to let a vote be carried out.

This film clearly champions radical change in the way we let schools operate, citing that the school system we have today was good 50 years ago, “but times have changed.”

Waiting for Superman carries a non-partisan message, pointing out that both Democrats and Republicans have made promises that have fallen flat.

At the end of the film, Gov. Kasich stated that he was interested in having a frank discussion with teachers, parents and lawmakers about how we fix education in Ohio. He said he has only talked with hundreds, but he wants to talk to thousands.

Teachers, union representatives, legislators, superintendents, boards of education and most importantly parents have an opportunity to radically change the way education works in Ohio.

I want to personally ask that every teacher, parent and administrator — for our children’s future — look at the opportunity they have to join in the constructive side of the education debate.

We need to stop “waiting for Superman” and start being the superhero for our children and our country’s future.

Jacqueline Mettee, Poland


Comments

1charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

One of the first things I learned in my "Organizational Behavior" class in college is that organizations have a desire to perpetuate themselves. This fact is why you will never get any cooperation from the teacher's union on bringing needed change to the education system.

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2Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

There should never be any mystery as to why test scores are low, there is rampant drugs and bullying in the current educational model. The feds and the states need to forget everything they think they know about education. No true reform can occur with the current teacher's unions using their influence to further their agenda at the expense of children's education. A better system is available for far less money.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Comm...

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3charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC

"Either tax parents or cut welfare to failing students."

Are you saying that a student who does not do well should have a financial penalty foisted upon their parents? Your confusing the incentive system here - teachers are the only one in your 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 analysis who get paid for what they do to educate kids. You're trying to put a remuneration component to the contributions made by the children and parents. This makes no sense.

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4charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

You are a teacher. The system needs improvement. You seem uncomfortable with merit measurements for teachers. Students already answer for poor performance through grades and parents answer to truant officers. Maybe students who don't attend school should not be factored into merit measurements for teachers. I would think that any teacher would be opposed to the current system that only equates merit with longevity. Really, since you are a teacher - I would be interested in your suggestions to improve the system - beyond penalizing students and parents.

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5paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Any teacher who opposes merit pay ought to be in another line of work. SOC obviously has years in the system and is content with longevity pay. But his (her) cynical attitude comes off as harsh - at a time when reasonable people are genuinely working to improve things.

SOC, if you don't like teaching poor kids - move to another school district or get into a line of work where you don't have to put up with people. We need dedicated teachers, not "wise apples."

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6300(562 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Merit pay sounds good in theory, but it will never work in reality.

All those administrators who took 100K+ buyouts, retire/rehire, etc.... those would be the ones deciding who's deserving of merit. Add in the fact that in the typical school district the worst teachers are half the time football or basketball coaches who are friends with the administration, and school boards in many of the more rural areas that are lucky to even have 2 members who are college graduates, and what do you have? A system that places personal judgments over actual teaching ability.

Terrible teachers get fired every year, so there's already a process in place for terminating poor teachers. Seniority/longevity is the only objective way, since it applies to everyone equally. If a teacher wants in increase their salary a fair bit, they can get the degrees and become an administrator. God knows the schools need some decent people running the show who aren't just failed teachers who were forced out of the classroom, and into the principal's office.

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7charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

300 & SOC

I have personally witnessed lousy jobs done by people in education - I won't get specific to protect their identities. They just sailed along in the system doing their damage. I know what I'm talking about. Absent really idiotic conduct (like sexual misconduct with a student) - there was no practical way to make these people do better or to get rid of them. That's the problem with a longevity system.

I see the potential problems with a merit based system (how do you determine it?) but I also see that we aren't doing the kind of job educating our kids that we want to do.

You want to punish students by financially hurting their parents. I just don't see the sense in this. Some kids are underachievers, have behavioral problem or are learning disabled.

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8streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Public schools don't need "Waiting for Superman" to discredit them. Their ineptness has been shown by every study pitting our kids against kids from other countries. When will people finally learn that it is the teacher's union that stymies every attempt at real improvement?

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9paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

Public schools always take credit for good students and always blame parents for poor students. Students in Finland attend classes for more days a year than they do in the US. Try to get the teacher's union to agree to that! ... and don't give us the "sure..., for more pay argument." Teachers are already getting full time wages for 9 months work! I am not familiar with the teacher's union in Finland - Maybe it isn't so blind to seeing ways to improve poor performance - like in the US.

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10charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The teacher's union is the bane of today's education system, pure and simple. It creeps along... feeding its outstretched tentacles... upon hapless taxpayers... begging for more salary increases during a recession... stonewalling improvements... angling for its members to be put on a pedestal at every opportunity... devouring spineless school boards that give it whatever it wants...

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11paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

If you think we would attract better people into teaching by paying more, then you are implying that today's teachers are substandard.

If you think that teachers would perform better if they were respected more - then you are implying that they are not professional enough to set their personal feelings aside when they work.

If education isn't valued, why all the hoopla over this movie?

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12charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

Shills operate on the "QT" to help someone else. I am anything but a shill... And there is a merit based system for doctors and other professions: it's called quality. There is no "free market" in teaching - just the "dumb" system of longevity pay. I don't think that all public schools and all public teachers are poor. It's just that it's a poor system - with the wrong incentives, feedback, etc.

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13grand4dad(197 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside and Education_Voter, you both hit the nail on the head. Good posts, thank you. Stop the unwarranted attacks on teachers it's all pure propoganda.

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14charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

If personally attacking me gives you a "thrill," go ahead. My suggestion to you is to temper your rhetoric to let your arguments ring true.

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15charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

Except for your references to people dying, my response to your last post is: Who cares! Who cares what the motivations of people are? Who cares if SB5 hurts your union? Whether it fails or succeeds, your union's going to have to "wake up and smell the coffee." We just won't stand for the public sector "sucking the blood" out of the private sector anymore!

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16charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

Once again, a shill acts on the QT in behalf of someone else. That's not me. Why, when somebody disagrees with your "love my union" serenade - do you automatically assume he is being manipulated by "powerfully bad people." Public unions are bloodsuckers - they feed off the private sector coolies that support their rich ways and they feed off the ignorance of their members. Public unions remind me of playground bullies - intimidate, threaten, scare... They are particularly destructive in the teacher's union - where mediocrity is king, reform nearly impossible and the longevity system "dumbs-down" the notion of rewarding merit with higher pay.

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17charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

I listen to Rush for about 10 minutes a week on my way to a weekly lunch with a friend of mine. And I disagree with his views often. My views come from my varied experiences and thinking. Yes, I feel unions have ruined this country and public sector unions are the last vestige of this archaic - harmful system. People should be able to stand on their own two feet without having some over-compensated union boss calling all the shots.

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18charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

You are confusing labor unions with legislators.

Also, all your "accomplishments" are ancient history - unions outlived their usefulness years ago.

(1) Unions have brought this "once proud" steel town to its knees,

(2) Unions have owned the Democrat Party for years - what - about 20% of the delegates to the Democratic National Conventrion are teachers, &

(3) Public Sector Unions have made the private sector hemorrage with blood-sucking taxes to feed their voracious appetites for salary increases during the recession,

If you want to live in the past... go ahead. Unions are about as useful today as a horse & buggy!

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19charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

TEACHER UNIONS AT POLAND AND CANFIELD RECEIVED A 10% SALARY INCREASE (PLUS STEP INCREASES) THE LAST 3 YEARS.

Buda Boom!

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20paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The focus of this blog is public sector unions, in particular teacher unions. Private sector unions through the business cycles have diminished in influence and public sector unions through the ballot box will follow suit. There are checks and balances in every system.

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21paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC

"...attack on the working class"

Give me a break! Teachers are not a part of the "real working class." We all know the reasons they aren't.

Charms,

Agree with your Buda Boom! SOC doesn't answer your 10% teacher raise comment.

Buda Boom, SOC!

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22paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

"If the unions die, so will those laws." "The check is in the mail." "If you turn quick - you'll see your shadow."

theotherside,

All 3 statements are FALSE. TEACHERS GET 10% RAISES IN POLAND AND CANFIELD...

BUDA BOOM!

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23streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

theotherside,

"If you don't want to pay your teachers, don't."

Great idea! I'd love to shave about 10K off the salaries of everyone in the Canfield and Poland School Systems making over 65K (including administrators!)

Then we could roll back the 10% in raises both school districts gave their teachers... I like this... then we could make them contribute more to their pensions and health insurance... Don't get me started, I see my property tax as a mere shadow of its former self!

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24charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

What are the chances the BOE is going to listen to the voters and not agree to the contract modification?... Less than zero!

BUDA BOOM!

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25charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

"It takes two to bargain."

Why do I feel that the taxpayers aren't represented at the negotiations?... Oh, I know - they aren't!

BUDDA BOOM!

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26charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I've got the solution! Eliminate step-raises, take everyone making over 55K - take their pay over that 55K and give it to the beginning teachers.

... But no, you say!!!

That would disturb the delicate balance in the longevity system - that weights wages "UP" in later years to unreasonably "boost up" retirements!

BUDDA BING!

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27charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

"Are public school teachers lazy?

When you work 180 days vs a real job where you work 245 days (allowing for two weeks vacation and five holidays), you would need to put in an average of 11 hours/day to actually match the working hours of a full-time job. I asked this question earlier, and all I got was posts about how teachers have to grade papers at home and make lesson plans.

1- Most lesson plans are almost exactly the same as the previous year. Once you've got your agenda, what needs to change drastically? Most (not all) homework papers can be graded in less than a minute. Homework that is more complex to grade (like a multiple-page report) is not handed out on a daily or even weekly basis. This can't possibly account for 3 - 4 extra hours every single day. If it does, you're a LOUSY teacher.

2 - Some said that they worked summer school or coaching jobs - those pay extra. It's like getting a second job anywhere else. They don't count.

3 - Some actually included information about how early they get up or how far they travel - NOT RELEVANT. Most people have commute time and have morning preparations.

What I want to know is why do so many teachers continue to whine and whine and blame all their failures on a lack of money in the system? Private schools can do a better job with half the money. I'm sick of my taxes going up year after year to pay for this extremely inferior product.

Teachers, please explain why you can't do the job better when you have more than twice the money per student. My only explanation is that you're lazy, you don't care, and you don't have to do a good job because you have tenure.

If teaching is so underpaid and horrible, why didn't you choose a different major in college?"

From Yahoo Answers to the question: are teachers lazy? - Google Search Results

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28paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Great, Charms!

You forgot: BUDDA BING, BUDDA BOOM!

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29paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

That's why they're called "Public Schools." The system is set up to deliver services to all children, regardless of ability. Each child is entitled by federal law to a "free appropriate public education." This is a sacred right. Don't denigrate it by putting that right down.

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30streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

I don't think the public schools suffer so much in the public's eyes in comparison to private schools. I think they suffer when compared to schools in other countries.

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31paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Is that true?... that if you measure our top 10% with the top 10% in other countries, we come out on top?

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32charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The differences between the public and private sector:

(1) The private sector supports the public sector; the public sector leeches off the private sector,

(2) The private sector labors quietly to make a living; the public sector works boastfully to make a "killing" (in retirement, perks and bennies)

(3) The major goal of the private sector is to make ends meet: the major goal of the public sector is to jack-up taxes,

and

(4) The private sector works until May to support the public sector; the public sector workers are lazy all year long.

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33paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

charms,

BUDDA BING - BUDDA BOOM!!!

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34rumppy(115 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

good points from everyone and bad. like the discussions. how about bringing jobs to the area? I bet that would help alot of the problems. What worked 50-60 years ago may not be the solution today. Repubilcan/Democrats!!!!!!!!!! forget the parties. Do whats right for the masses.

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35charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow!...

If all the taxes were collected to pay for current spending, Tax Freedom Day in 2011 would be May 23.

The Tax Foundation

May 23 is the 143rd day of the year, or 143/365 = .3917%, or...close to 40%!

We are on our way to becoming a socialist state & teacher overspending is leading the way!

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36questions(4 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Food for thought: Ninety-three percent of the 195 graduating seniors are going to college and, collectively, are receiving $3,858,000 in scholarships, more than any other graduating class from PSHS. Also, Poland is an excellent with distinction school district.

Statistically they have a higher than the national average attending colleges and scholarship awards.

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37charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

questions,

With the cost of college going up every year, they should be getting the most scholarship money of any PSHS class. So what?

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38streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Charms,

You can't separate costs from the determination of scholarship amounts. To think otherwise is just silly.

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39streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

Previous post was for you. Sorry!

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40charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

How can you say that, "Scholarships awarded are not based on the cost of colleges?"

Where is your cite to a source for this information? Do you mean to suggest that there hasn't been an inflation in scholarships to go along with the inflation of college costs? How can you say that?

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41HSG(139 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

All of you on this blog so breathlessly promoting "Waiting for Superman" need a reality check.
Read :
Race to the Bottom: The Problem with Innovation in Schools.

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42streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

Just like usual, you avoided the "tough" question - this time posed by charms in post 76. You've got no source, do you? Typical anti-SB5 rhetoric!

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43streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

You teachers never give up, do you? "RAISE TAXES AND CUT SPENDING."

Everybody in the teaching field wants to raise taxes! GLAD YOU FINALLY ADMITTED IT!

Sure, "Take from the poor and give to the rich" public sector employees - who already enjoy the greatest perks and bennies in the country!

Your name should be "killourcountry" instead of saveourcountry!

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44streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Shame on you teachers for putting pillaging the public coffers ahead of serving the children.

Shame on you for letting your union run roughshod over helpless boards of education.

Shame on you for letting our students fall behind the other industrialized countries.

Shame on you for being so full of rancor and bereft of gratitude.

Shame on you for pitting yourselves against the taxpayers' best interests.

Shame, shame, shame.

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45karin281(10 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

@ Streetsmart who said: "Public schools don't need "Waiting for Superman" to discredit them. Their ineptness has been shown by every study pitting our kids against kids from other countries. When will people finally learn that it is the teacher's union that stymies every attempt at real improvement?"

School is school, regardless of unions or not. Success is a combination of the teacher's input and guidance, student effort, and parental concern and guidance. You cannot blame all the wrongs you feel you see on unions alone.

In China and most Asian countries (especially Japan) you study. You excel because there is *extreme* family pressure to succeed and become a highly educated person. How you raise your status in society is very much based on your level of education. Kids compete to get into the top elementary schools, let alone the top high schools or colleges. Teachers are respected in their culture. Students in turn are respectful and go to work in the classroom without as much classroom management because to distract the teacher is a waste of time for all. Many students then go after school to "cram schools" which their families pay for on an additional basis. Students that don't make the cuts are guided into other jobs and professions. We test every child in the USA regardless of ability. In Europe and Asia, the results we see are often only those of the top 20 percent. Quite frankly, you simply cannot compare the results.

DId I see "Waiting for Superman"? Yes. Did I think it was extremely biased to show one viewpoint? Yes. And I am a teacher, yes. But as an extremely liberal person, if I thought the film was good and sound, I would say so. However it shows one viewpoint, was filmed strategically to show one viewpoint, and from someone who has been in the educational arena for more than fifteen years, it is a propagranda piece.

Simply my opinion from someone who actually teaches and isn't making assumptions from the outside looking in.

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46streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

karin281,

Most people who voted NO in Canfield and Poland didn't see this movie before voting.

I am not making assumptions, I am telling you that people are justifiably teed off that teachers have gouged the taxpayers at a time of recession.

Simply put - "You rip me off, I get mad!"

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47paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

karin281,

You're making me cry in my beer... Who cares if the movie was biased? Whatever teacher unions do "propaganda wise" is biased too.

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48charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Go paulparks!

You're absolutely right!

BUDDA BING, BUDDA BOOM...

CHA CHING, CHA CHING, CHA CHING!

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49streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

Yes, it appears that I am your nemesis on this blog. You call me negative. The reason you think that is because I am so positive. I believe in a great America, an America where everyone gets a great education!

It's not happening, SOC. As a teacher, are you part of the problem or the solution? I don't know.

All I know is that your fears of SB5 indicate you are very cynical or unsure of being able to demonstrate your own true worth.

I would think every teacher would love the opportunity SB5 brings.

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50karin281(10 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

@Streetsmart

I was responding to your comment "Their ineptness has been shown by every study pitting our kids against kids from other countries."

You seem to deliberately miss any point I make when you disagree with it. I wasn't talking at all about people not supporting the levies because they had seen a movie. I never even considered that people in our communities would ever base a vote simply on that.

My point is that comparing American public school students with students in Europe and Asia is done using an "uneven" sample.

It's interesting that when I explain something you disagree with, you come back with a retort that totally misses the point I was making or launches another tirade on a different or slightly related subject.

I have, however, realized from this that if I keep posting here, I'll be constantly responding to things, and well, I have other things I can more positively spend the time on.

Thanks for the discussion.

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51Tigerlily(500 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

This documentary was Republican propaganda for charter schools, plain and simple.

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52streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

Let's elevate this discussion above crabs, please.

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53charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC

All I can say to streesmartt is that you (SOC) are an extremely negative person. Very insulting... And not a gentleman...

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54streetsmartt(127 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SOC,

Please quote me accurately. I referred to how you make the whole teaching profession look when you ACT like a jackass.

I did not call you a jackass.

I support your right to "fight for those younger" than you in the teaching profession.

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