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View Diary: Where Is The 'Middle Ground' In The Education Debate? (51 comments)

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  •  Too broadly painted... (5+ / 0-)

    "Teachers who have blindly and knowingly carried out the unequal and insidious policies of the last century..."

    1) Teachers do not design policy. It is done at the state, county, school board and administration levels.

    2) Teachers are held accountable for policy that exists at any given time. That is to say, in my career, policy has had four major shifts, all of which I have adjusted to efficiently and been judged effective.

    3) Teacher evaluations are much more complex than the lay person is led to believe. Teachers are persuaders. We persuade people to work hard at tasks that confused them and make them mad. You can be a crackerjack physicist, but if you are not a crackerjack PERSUADER, you get nowhere, and get hatred in the classrroom. I have seen this dozens of times as teachers burn out trying to get students to do what they want. It is FAR more important than degrees, scores or testing proceedures.

    4) Teachers who are biased toward the non-traditional student, the minority language student, the minority skin color student, the overweight student, the slow student, the disabled student, the overachieving average student, the gifted student, the gay student, the straight student.. in fact, any bias whatsoever, lasts about three months in the American  classrooom. They may stay in the classroom befudddling administrators as to WHY such a bright teacher is not effective, but students and teachers know why.  Students here are Americans, and do not tolerate obvious bias. Students here are also Americans in that they will not blindly follow ANYONE. They must be persuaded by the ethical and moral makeup of the teacher to move ahead. If that moral contract is broken, the teacher is ineffective. This is FAR more a determining factor in teacher success than any other dimension.

    5) States differ wildly in their public school effectiveness. In Oregon, politics has been so clean, so efficient and so lacking in rancor for the most part, that schools have not been dragged into the political blender to be masticated by Know-Nothings. Some states are not so lucky, living with the legacy of structural racism, structral multi-generational poverty, structural corporatism in control, that one statement about "The Public School System" ignores the fact that there IS no Public School System in America. There are thousands of them, and their functionality and dysfunctionality is directly proportionate to the functional level of the community. In other words, if your schools are crappy, I can guarantee your community is crappy to each other. Simple correlation which in this case, is a cause.
    Has NOTHING to do with teachers.

    6) In the private sector, the agreed upon remedy for gathering talent, if its talent you are worried about, is PAY. Dont forget that the Corporations braying for REFORM pay their CFOs and CEOs and other asssorted minions hundreds of thousands per year, base, and millions if they like them.  I suggest, not tongue in cheek,  to avoid hypocrisy, we apply the same remedy to teachers. Pay them double what we pay them starting next year, and I guarantee you that you will increase the quality of the entering teacher corps. You certainly will not get better quality by cutting support staff, salaries and benefits if the Free Market has any validity at all.

    7) Teachers should not be the focus. Policy, rationality, increasing (doubling) the minimum wage, a jobs bill (CCC, Job Corps, Entrepeneur Corps) by more Federal Debt Spending (yes you heard it right. Increase the Debt) would do more for communities than any pressure you want to put on teacher accountability. Scores will rise immediately. It is a no-brainer. Teachers are not the problem. The problems are structural in our society, and until we teach to them, and talk about them, and add resources to solve them, no amount of focus on teachers will do one iota of good. Not one jot. That is a Republican framing.. a managers view of the serfs. Reject it. It is as invalid as the arguments for Trickle Down Economics.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Thu Jul 21, 2011 at 12:34:45 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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