Friday, September 06, 2013

Dog Bites Man

Teacher dissatisfaction with Bloomberg lackey Dennis Walcott is at 57%, and Gotham Schools calls it an all-time high. I can only marvel at the other 43%. It's entirely feasible they were too paranoid to answer honestly. Teachers have repeatedly asked me whether or not the surveys could be traced to them. After all, they're numbered, and who knows there aren't principals writing the numbers down, or even attributing poor results to individual teachers with no reasonable basis whatsoever?

In this era of American education, reason is a quaint relic of the past. We judge teachers on junk science. We issue standards that have never been field-tested anywherem and NY Times columnists rave about their importance. We have insane ideologues running not only the NY City Department of Education, but the national DOE as well.

Who's to say the leadership academy grads aren't hunched over in their offices, smoking cigarettes, and plotting revenge against those awful teachers who said those terrible things about not only Walcott, but also their exalted selves?

So maybe those 43% aren't paranoid after all, and are focused on the very real consequences of working in a system based on ideas that originated in the hind quarters of bull goose loony Bill Gates. There are, of course, exceptions. For example, the Educators 4 Excellence just can't wait to be fired for no reason. Gotham Schools darling Ruben Brosbe, who couldn't get tenure when he was a teacher, went and took some course at Harvard, and came back in some sort of leadership position. After all, just because you haven't been deemed fit for teacher tenure, if you're reformy enough that's no reason you're unfit to be in charge of schools or teachers.

There are all sorts of opportunities for teachers who drink the Kool-Aid. Diane Ravitch writes that TFA teachers are on the fast track for advancement. Those of us in the reality-based community are doomed to be teachers. Actually, that's fine with me. I'm very much aware that we're doing the most important work there is, and I'm proud of serving kids who really need me. I only hope I can continue to do so as long as I'm able, and that I leave before the junk science monster bites me.

It's a shame so many teachers are so timid. We need to stand as one, unafraid. We need to speak the truth. We need to do this not only for ourselves, but also for our students. Any teacher who endorses the nonsense that pervades education today is either misinformed, working toward a Gates gig, or sorely lacking judgment and curiosity. And which of those is qualified to serve as a role model for our children?

I'd argue none of the above.
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