Saturday, October 12, 2013

King John's Epic Fail

Today I went to a Bar Mitzvah. It was a big party at a Holiday Inn. My wife and I were at table 6. We all sat down, and there were 4 or 5 elderly people at our table. One of Holiday Inn's crack employees informed us that there were not enough seats, and that furthermore, this was not, in fact, table 6. It was table 5 and someone had switched the table numbers!

I asked what the difference was, but she was unpersuaded. We all had to get up, even those who had trouble walking. What we found when we got to the new table was this--it was exactly the same size as the other table, but contained one extra chair. To me, it seemed ridiculous that we all had to switch places when we could've pushed over one chair and a place setting. But the woman in charge could not imagine any other way.

Of course, she is not a teacher, and would not make a very good one. When you're standing in front of 34 teenagers, it's your job to resolve unexpected conflicts quickly and efficiently, with as little trouble as possible. You have to think fast, you have to rely on your imagination, and if you have it, you have to rely on your experience. You have to be ready for anything.

When you read things like this, it's fairly easy to see that NY State Education Commissioner John King is not ready for anything. He's ready to enforce Bill Gates' druthers on us. He's ready to give long-winded speeches on the wonders of Common Core, and the fact that it's never even been field tested does not faze him one iota. But he can't take it when those darn parents get up and start criticizing him. Who the hell do they think they are?

We're all facing the Danielson Framework. Whatever you may think of it, it stresses engaging students. Imagine a teacher boring kids to death with a two-hour presentation. Imagine that it entailed something in which the kids did not believe, and imagine further they found it utterly unpersuasive. Imagine you gave them only a few minutes at the end to respond, and that you got all testy and whined about their opinions. You wouldn't be a very good teacher, would you?

Imagine further that you simply canceled all the rest of your classes, refused to discuss the matter further, took your ball and went home. You'd be fired, wouldn't you?

And that's precisely what ought to happen to Reformy John King.
blog comments powered by Disqus