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February 11, 2009

Comments

Brad Jolly

John, it would have been helpful had you pointed out that the "National Staff Development Council" (NSDC) is funded largely by the teachers' union and its members. The NSDC is not a scientific body; it is an advocacy group with an ax to grind. Its "reports" should be viewed warily, if at all.

Brad Jolly

I talked with a Singaporean teacher friend of mine. About the 35% assertion, she said "I think 35% is quite low" and went on to explain how her time is actually spent.

Regarding the sharing of fine-tuning of lessons, she said, "Yes, we do share lessons and ideas. We have a sort of shared platform whereby a few schools get together to load the lesson plans onto a web."

Regarding the 100 hours of paid professional development, she said "Almost very true. All training are paid and all teachers are encouraged to sign up courses for professional improvement."

According to this teacher, there was a decent amount of truth in the NSDC report, along with some exaggeration.

Did the NSDC report mention that the average class size in Singapore is around 40? If we went to that kind of model, we could certainly fund 100 hours per year of staff development. Singapore also provides funding for parochial schools as well as public schools, and as a result they save money by eliminating the costs associated with having an unaccountable monopoly deliver services. I would support that as well.

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