Friday, January 20, 2012

Is it Real, or Is it Corporate Media Crap?

Take heart, my brother and sister teachers, and don't believe all the nonsense they plaster all over the papers. Were you to do that, you'd need to believe:

Hedge fund managers care about kids. Teachers don't.

It's kind of amazing to watch the people who put the economy in the toilet, where it still is, lecture us on yet another topic about which they know nothing. I mean, you'd think that once these people failed so miserably in their own field, they wouldn't presume to jump into another. Still, there is great allure in breaking what is likely the last bastion of vibrant unionism, to wit, us, and creating a generation of employees the caliber of McDonald's and Walmart, on both of which Whitney Tilson is bullish. The money we don't get could then fill their considerable pockets. Nonetheless, I fail to see how an ocean of crappy jobs with low pay, no security and no benefits helps those children they shed all those crocodile tears over.

There is a crisis in education that must be fixed this very minute.

There's mixed news here. With a large number of Americans living in poverty, a national disgrace, it's not surprising that a lot of kids don't do well in school. When you struggle to put food on the table, you don't always have time to make sure your kid does homework, let alone stress and reinforce its importance. And make no mistake, when both parents work 200 hours a week, the next best role model is not, in fact, the hedge fund manager who wouldn't set foot in your neighborhood on a bet. It's the teacher. It's you and it's me who care about these kids. For that offense, we are vilified daily by every tinhorn corporate whore of a politician, and by every newspaper in NYC.

The UFT is holding up the evaluation model because it doesn't want one.

This is ridiculous. In fact, I don't like the new evaluation model because it contains value-added, which is total crap. It can label excellent teachers as sub-par and has wild margins of error. Plus no one even knows what the hell the tests will even look like. Despite that, it was Mulgrew who went and made the deal with Albany. And DOE walked out not because of the evaluation, but because they would not bend on an appeals process that finds over 99.5% of U ratings worth sustaining. Principals make mistakes, even if Michael Bloomberg refuses to believe it.

Principals can't observe teachers unless they make an appointment.

Nonsense. My principal walks in on me whenever he likes. And over 27 years, I've had many supervisors and principals walk in unannounced and do formal observations. Where Bill Gates and the papers get this stuff is a mystery to me. There's nothing in the contract that precludes supervisors from walking in on teachers formally, informally, or whatever. Whether or not they choose to do so, of course, is another matter, and certainly not the fault of teachers.  You can and should ask for pre and post-observations, but that's pretty much it. A supervisor will work with you on improving your lesson beforehand, assuming the supervisor is good, or capable of constructing a decent lesson or controlling a class. I would assume none of the above, but I always hope for the best.

What other lies have you seen in the media? Feel free to list and/ or refute them in the comments.
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