Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Day, Another Sliming

It seems like not a day goes by that we who teach the children of this country are not trashed in the media. In my school, free tabloids are all over the place, and I'd open them in teacher rooms to discover what fresh perfidies we'd committed this week, this day, this hour. We are perverts. We are incompetent. Our jobs are protected forever. We make too much, work too little.

Today, on the heels of a new evaluation system based on junk science the Daily News bemoans the fact that not enough teachers are labeled incompetent. If kids are still failing tests, or not graduating, it must be the fault of teachers, since they are the sole factor in student achievement. It doesn't matter if they come from abusive homes. If their parents each work 200 hours a week and never see them, that's an excuse. If they came from other countries and had interrupted formal education, a competent teacher would make up for it in a week. And if they don't speak English, so what, they should pass all the tests anyway.

That such idiotic assumptions are placed into writing is bad enough. The fact that few readers receive any information to the contrary is dangerous. The fact that professional writers cannot be bothered to do the most cursory research before asserting baseless nonsense is unconscionable.

Still, the fish rots from the head, and our President, despite recent lip service decrying excessive testing, and teaching to the test, continues to employ Arne Duncan, who gleefully enacts and enforces programs that directly contradict all Obama's valuable good intentions.  Essentially we have Obama as good cop, Duncan as bad cop, and we, the accused, have no actual friends across that table.

It's time to change the conversation. Our friends in Chicago are making good progress, making the ridiculous politicians look exactly as they are.

What else can we do, right here in Fun City?
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