Chelsea Ursaner

Student, TEDxDuke


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What do TEDsters think about New York's recently passed "parent trigger" for school reform?

The "parent trigger," enables parents who gather a majority vote to either fire the principal, fire 50% of the teachers, close the school or turn it into a charter school.

There are a lot of implications here. I think most people at TED were ready for some new and perhaps radical ideas to improve our school systems but is this a good way to do it? I know off the top of my head based on a mass firing at my high school while I was there, kids often have different ideas of good teachers versus bad teachers. Added on to this, it is often unclear who is 'right' if there is such a thing. I foresee situations where the students have a few favorite teachers who are relaxed and act as their friends and the parents vote to get rid of them - not good for the parent child relations at home. What other negative consequences could there be to this? Once we grasp a better understanding of these consequences, is it worth it?

I tend to hold the position that we ought to try new things and if they don't work then we can repeal them. There is no use waiting for the status quo to change on its own - by definition, it won't. Yet I have an instinctive hesistation towards this law and I cannot quite articulate why. I guess I like the feeling of being independent from the control of my parents even if that just means I am under the control of my school system. Does anyone share similar views?

In any case, does anyone expect other states to jump on this bandwagon?

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    Jun 18 2011: Wow. That's great. Considering that, they also need to do the same for politicians, doctors, nurses, dentists, mechanics, pilots, priests, oh, and PARENTS...

    Most of the much touted problems with education systems don't come from the teachers, they stem from further 'up' the bureaucracy ladder.

    I believe that the government or ministry of education should be answerable to the schools and their community.

    It is not a good idea, however, to bring this sort of reform down to an individual level.

    If teachers were able to be fired for incompetence, then the competent teachers should be able to charge high fees to the parents of all the kids they teach, like lawyers and such..
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    Jun 14 2011: Yes I can see mob mentality taking over and a lot of good people loosing their jobs. Parents can be a bit over zealous when it comes to their children. If a teacher is going to be fired it should be done by an independent authority that is knowledgeable about the teaching process after complaint were made.