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View Diary: Nation's largest teachers union calls for Arne Duncan's resignation (203 comments)

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  •  Founding assumptions of Sect. Education (8+ / 0-)

    1. There are a lot of bad teachers.
    2. Data can capture teaching effectiveness, if the instrument is well designed.
    3. Decisions on effective teaching cannot be left to the school level without becoming corrupt.

    Rod Paige's con-man soul propagated a "data driven" approach, too, and it set forth a logical impossibility in NCLB. Arne Duncan shares with Paige the assumption that teachers are suspect, that they are a conservative force and that the unions are inherently conservative -- always, by nature, resistant to responding to student needs. Where Paige just didn't like unions, people of Duncan's stamp are more sophistic-ated and wrong.

    Point #3 is the closest to validity that the assumptions get. It is true that school districts are corrupt, have been corrupt, and are going to be corrupt. It's true that principals sometimes have been, sometimes are, and sometimes will be arbitrary, capricious, egomaniacal, stupid, and venal. That doesn't justify anything, though. If you identify a problem, you must expose each proposed solution to all the skeptical criticism and cynicism as the current problem.

    Point #2 is the most obvious fallacy and it is the one that each Secretary of Education has been addicted to. I will bet that the next one will come with that software pre-installed, too. There is a ground level belief that the right sort of testing will bypass human judgment, the right sort of assessment will deliver the perfect numerical portrait of teaching, and that there will be a way of achieving fairness through numbers.

    All three assumptions are flawed, and when power served flawed assumptions, students get hurt.

    "for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,/ Committed in the horrid lust of war,/ He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,/ Shall find it in his grave and in his seed." -- Webster, "The White Devil," IV i 8-12.

    by The Geogre on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 05:34:01 PM PDT

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