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A concerned member of the human race

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Who's Been Haunting Your Door in the Last Decade?

In the last decade of ed. deform, there's been a scary array of images haunting America's classroom.  It's a shame because they demoralize a dignified profession, make it harder to teach (except to tests) and harder for kids to thrive.      

Michelle Rhee

Happy to say all my pictures, in this case, "fade to black and white."  Yet, the ideas Rhee brought to D.C. a decade ago (the sanctity of basing teacher evaluations upon students' standardized test scores, merit pay and the impact of good teachers in eliminating severe poverty) are still at the door.  None seem to work.  For those who wish to blame societal problems almost exclusively upon teachers, however, hope springs eternal.  

Secretary Duncan

Looks like a basketball just left his hands.  Too bad, it was really an RttT grant.  Here's the door-to-door (or state-to-state) equivalent of the Fuller Brush Man, but with a far inferior product.  He's been at my door pedaling the Common Core and junk-science evaluations.  He'll pay your state in the form of a more than generous grant to take it off his hands.  Just don't ask about the returns policy, but be thankful that Hurricane Sandy didn't turn out to be the best thing to happen to education in NYC!

Bill Gates 

He's been a big guy at my door with all sorts of screwy ideas to disrupt public education.  Comprehensive schools have bit the dust in favor of smaller structures, yielding no real benefits.  I've seen common standards built in mid-air and money thrown at it by the millions to try to blind us from the fact that gravity is pulling it down.  Money talks.  And, in this case, there is a lot of it.

Michael Bloomberg

He was at the door of NYC public education for more than a decade, trying to turn education into a business.  He was the "Education Mayor," thanks to his propaganda-pumping PR team and the explosion of sub-par credit-recovery schemes.  Teachers became synonymous, it seemed, with perverts whose feet must be put to the fire.  He sent out legions of Leadership Academy principals, fast-tracked to wreak havoc across the system.  If you survived without becoming an ATR, never forget your luck!

David Coleman

Not giving "a shit" about what students think or feel, unable to teach, himself, he looks down at the rest of us from his "common-core" pedestal in the sky--with standardized test, firmly clutched in hand.  If human worth can best be measured through the SATs, let's create a hell of a lot more standardized tests to let us know our worth and enthrall us with our education from the earliest years.  I did well on my SATs, but long ago I forgot the score.  I've never met anyone who gives "a shit" about it.  

Charlotte Danielson

All things in life, we must believe, can be objectively measured through rubrics with "domains" and "components." It's not enough to trust a qualified administrator to give the type of feedback teachers have received since time immemorial, we need someone to split hairs and make us squirm to fit models of highly effective that may sometimes fall flat on their face when confronted with academic realities.

Governor Cuomo

He's looming large now at my door after his State-of-the-State Address.  Despite the hashtag #invitecuomo, I really don't want him at my door.  I'm not the first to say this.  Since he cannot understand how teachers can be largely effective at the same time that cut scores have been set to slaughter students on Common-Core aligned State tests, I'm sure I don't want him at my door.  As far as I'm concerned, he can take his merit pay and put it towards the $2.5 billion he owes the City.  

When I signed up to become a teacher, I signed up to help children.  I didn't sign up to help corporate-minded reformers, so far removed from the sphere of education that they might just as well be on another planet.  Some of these "reformers" have come and gone.  Some are still lurking.   One wonders who could possibly show up next.

So, who do I want at my door? 

How about more parents?  We share the interests of their child.  We share the interests of the community.  Parents speak for the needs of their children.  They speak for the needs of their communities.  When they come, we need to lay out the welcome mat.  We need to  open our doors.  We need to listen.

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