Now that school reformers like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and Arne Duncan have spent at least ten years blaming teachers and teachers unions for the alleged failures of America’s public schools, and forcing or bribing, schools systems around the country to institute teacher evaluation systems which are largely based on student test scores, they want to launch initiatives to “improve teacher quality.”
How they propose to do that when teacher morale is the lowest in recorded history and talented teachers are leaving the profession in droves is a mystery to me. Look at Teach for America. For the last twenty years, this organization had recruited top students at the nation’s top colleges, not to become teachers for life, but to become “education leaders” and “advocates” and seek positions, whether in education or the private sector, which command far more power and status and money than teachers receive.
As a resiult, TFA has done NOTHING to improve the quality of the teaching profession. And their policies are symptomatic of an ideological trap that all Education Reformers have fallen into.
You cannot “improve teacher quality” without instituting policies that give teachers more power over their professional lives — which would mean repealing virtually every educational reform policy instituted since No Child Left Behind.
You can’t have it both ways. Stick to current policies and teaching will remain a revolving door, low status profession, that proud and talented people will avoid.
With a Brooklyn Accent
Posted: Sunday, 20 July 2012