Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Huge Dishonest Attack on Teachers

An interview from Truthout:

"... We're living in the darkest times for teachers that I've ever seen in my life. It's hard to fully understand how the conversation about what makes a robust, vital education for citizens in a democracy has degraded to the point where the frame of the whole discussion is that teachers are the problem. It's true that good schools are places where good teachers gather, but there's another piece to that: Good teachers need to be protected to teach, supported to teach, put into relationships with one another - and with the families of the kids - so that they can teach. The attack on teachers is a classic example of what [cognitive linguist George] Lakoff calls "framing." We're hearing from every politician and editorial board in the land - including The New York Times and The Washington Post and The New Yorker - that we need to get the lazy, incompetent teachers out of the classroom. ...

In the past five years, that attack on public education has ratcheted up to dimensions that were unthinkable 30 years ago. And so people talk about the public schools in a way that is disingenuous and dishonest - and also frightening in its characterization: they say the schools are run by a group of self-interested, selfish, undertrained, undercommitted teachers, who have a union that protects them." -- William Ayers

end of Truthout excerpt
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Two of the many difficulties with the current misguided attack on teachers are:

(A.) the virtually free ride given to those who bear major responsibility for the inadequacies of the current situation and

(B.) the likelihood that completely "off the mark" and "ill devised solutions" will be seen as paths to improvement.

(1) The reform needed is hardly to be found in the Common Core standards, which in mathematics will be a huge step down from WA state's Math Standards. The imposition of de facto "National Standards" and their forced implementation will create for many students and teachers a situation where high quality will certainly be lacking. Consider the situation for literature and all courses HERE.

(1.b) Look at what is headed for kindergarten and primary grades: The Dreaded Standards by Zig Engelmann.(note last three paragraphs from Zig)

(2) Completely misguided and ongoing ineffective nonsense pushed by Colleges of Education and implemented by incompetent central administrations endorsed by uninformed unknowledgeable or corrupt school boards will likely continue.

(3) Increased spending will result from ill advised changes that will do little to improve the situation as corporate titans "Race to the Bank" under the banner of "Race to the Top" and other likely coming programs.

We have in place today an incredibly misguided structure largely due to a complete failure to apply what little valid education research exists.

The "Colleges of Education" are a complete embarrassment. The vast majority of their supposed research lacks valid statistical practices and is produced only to (1) please other elites in the bogus education community, (2) push a politically correct agenda or (3) rake in more grant money. If valid education research is needed apparently it needs to come from off-shore.

The change needs to begin at the top not the bottom if this system is ever to improve.

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data." -- Deming

Please note the University of Chicago closed their college of education. If the UW CoE cannot do better it needs to close as well. The National Science Foundation/ Education and Human Resources arm is an equal embarrassment.

NSF/EHR grant accountability consists of ......
after a proposal to spend money in a particular way,
a follow up showing that you spent the money as proposed.

Results are neither required or apparently of any importance given the last 30 years of NSF/EHR spending on developing and pushing "Reform" mathematics programs.

Note the largest study in the history of education, Project Follow Through was and is continually ignored because the elites did not like the results.

What works is not important.

The USA Ed community's elite leaders
continually try to make work
"what they would like to have work"
no matter how expensive or misguided.

.... Carry on Arne Duncan.


Patrice Abarca said...

Thank you!

Catherine Johnson said...

Hey Dan - When did the University of Chicago close its school of education?


kprugman said...

University of Chicago shuttered its curriculum department - probably its reputation for shoddy research became a liability. The Urban Education Institute is one of the few policy institutes that's been critical of charter schools, especially in Chicago. Their studies show public school closings had no positive effect on academic achievement. Why are we not surprised? Their critique of Waiting for Superman was accurate -Guggenheim's opinions are on par with Obama's and I think both are extremists. Their answer to public education is no education!