And they drool with envy at the specter of Florida dumping existing teacher contracts and replacing them with ones that base more than 50 percent of their pay on student achievement. An aptly named Senator Thrasher supports this bill, as do the many troglodytes who buy into the line that teachers are the only variable in education.
This goes right in line with the American mentality of being responsible for nothing whatsoever. If your kid fails, it has nothing to do with your parenting skills, or lack thereof. Nor do the kids themselves play any part. If they don't study, if they don't sleep at night, if they come to school drunk, if their parents have them up all hours delivering newspapers, it must be the teacher's fault. Because we Americans are responsible for nothing.
If the economy is good, we need to cut taxes on the rich. If the economy is bad, we need to cut taxes on the rich. And those who aren't rich think it's a good idea, because they never know...they might win the lottery or something. We are becoming a nation of idiots with a large need for scapegoats--and as racism is no longer chic as it once was, why not teachers?
I have a kid. My kid does well in school. She's acutely aware that the consequences for not doing well in school will be visited on her--not her teachers. If she had a teacher who was abusive or something, I'd be at the school in a flash defending her. But if she were failing, I'd do my darndest to let her know how inconvenient failure can be. My first question would be to her.
It's outlandish and preposterous to say teachers are the only variable in education. But it's convenient for everyone who wants to evade responsibility. Close the schools, fire the teachers, shuffle the kids around, and if that doesn't work, close more schools, fire more teachers, and shuffle more kids around.
Then you can say you did something. That's what Joel Klein said. That's what Michael Bloomberg said. That's what Arne Duncan said.
And that's what Barack Obama said too. I cannot believe I voted for this guy.