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A State Storyteller for Education

January 31st, 2018 at 06:59 am

There are times when truth is truly stranger than fiction. Today's article in the paper proved that. Illinois is hiring a state storyteller to tell the good things going on in education to the tune of $47K.

Illinois has big financial woes. Many of our larger city school districts are low performing. Most school districts that depend on local taxes are hurting big time. Starting salary in my city for a teacher is $39K. Most young teachers can't afford that because they owe so much in loans. Or if they take the much needed job, they live at poverty level if they have a family. Yet, our state is going to hire a storyteller. I'm wondering if this storyteller is going to tell fictional stories because the truth is pretty scary!

In other "factual" news, I almost have the room straightened up where we had the carpeting stretched. The guy showed up, on time, and after he finished, he said the job was more than he anticipated and that he had to restretch the whole room. I asked if he was going to raise the estimate and he said no, that wouldn't be fair to me. He also fixed a closet door in another bedroom because I asked him to show me how the bifold doors worked. He showed me, fixed it. So, I gave him $25 more than he said and he thanked me profusely.

Today I volunteer at school. I am working with some fifth graders on writing. It is sad how poorly they write and spell. A couple of them give me attitude claiming I don't know how to write and I just laugh as I work on their papers with them and correct the many grammatical and spelling errors. One of them said I didn't know what the teacher wanted and i finally told him that I have known the teacher longer than he has been alive, and I was the one who used to demonstrate in this teacher's class the writing model.

Our local paper is raising their rates yet again. This is the second time in a year. We seem to get less for more money and the mistakes continue to escalate. DH loves getting the paper and we can afford it, but it irks me we have to pay more and the quality isn't there.

7 Responses to “A State Storyteller for Education”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    I haven't heard about the state storyteller. Weird and sad. Also, very sad about the writing skills of the fifth graders. I am always shocked at how many usage and spelling errors I see in very obvious places, by people who should know better -- writing skills are going out the window. I blame computers and the spellcheck mentality.

  2. snafu Says:

    As a former political appointee, I explain when they do something inexplicable, it is always done for political reasons.

    Did the School Board take cursive writing out of the curriculum? What is the teacher child ratio in Ill. public school compared with private school? What learning difficulties have the children carried grade to grade? Private schools ask parents to withdraw any who consistently display learning deficits or unacceptable behaviours while public schools must accept all. As you explain, teachers can afford to work for $39K and most entry jobs merely require a degree. I've always wondered why parents have not yet taken collective action when their child's school is not delivering what is required. Of course it means that combo of higher taxes and higher school fees.

    I read the President pays $ 45 K tuition for the school Barron attends; about $450 per month, not affordable for most.

  3. rob62521 Says:

    Snafu, recently our legislators voted to reinstate the teaching of cursive writing back in the state schools. Of course none of the books that we had years ago exist because we were told to turn them in and the nicer ones were sold and the others thrown away. According to the state site on schools (Illinois Report Card) the student to teacher ratio is 19 to 1 and 50% of the state is in poverty. I know my former district is at 73% poverty overall, but some schools are far higher; that is just the average. As you aid public schools are required to accept any and all who come through the door.

    Right now we are using for the state test PARCC since Common Core is what everyone is saying we need and if people would honestly look at the sample test questions, they would wonder why in the world we are testing what we are testing. Most parents don't understand the test scores and personally, I think the test scores are misleading. The PARCC asks for lots of reading and writing including in math. A sample fourth grade question might like like something like this: There would be a word problem and the answer and then this: Jane did this problem wrong. Tell what Jane did wrong, then solve the problem correctly and give in detail how you solved it. I'm not sure we have adults who would have the patience to do this and then when the devices and website goes down, it adds to the frustration. However, our city schools have to play the state testing game since they rely on Title 1 funds so heavily.

    CB, here is the story from our local paper, but it came from the wires: http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/illinois-education-agency-to-hire-storytellers/article_55de4c9c-219c-5207-8315-6a9817cfa96a.html

    Yes, writing skills are going out the window. I like technology. I use it frequently, but until (and I'm showing my age here) we go back to the basics of sound instruction and students learning the basics of writing and how to put together a sentence, then a paragraph, and then a theme. all the technology in the world isn't going to help. I spent an hour today volunteering and I worked with about 7 kids one on one. One kid plagiarized his whole paper and when I pointed out that I didn't think he wrote most of it, but found it and copied and pasted, he informed me I was incorrect. I have the advantage of knowing his older sister as a former student and I've met mom and when his paper had his mom was born in Japan and his Japanese relatives often meeting in Oklahoma and how he doesn't get along with his in-laws...well call me dubious. Smile

  4. snafu Says:

    What do you think it will take for Americans to realize how far their public education system has fallen. Are parents primarily sending their children to private [tuition based] schools if possible?

    What action will parents using public school take to hold their elected representatives accountable?


    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/


    https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335/

  5. rob62521 Says:

    Snafu, I think many around here are realizing it. Our city schools unfortunately have had so many good families move out to the county schools or send their kids to private or parochial schools.

  6. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    What a stand up guy!

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