Diane Ravitch tells it like it is about current “educational reform” ideas. She nails the key issue I have with all of the educrats who are waging war on America’s teachers, this time around with the fetish of the standardized test:
Tests that assess what students have learned are not intended to be, nor are they, measures of teacher quality. It is easier for teachers to get higher test scores if they teach advantaged students. If they teach children who are poor or children who are English language learners, or homeless children, or children with disabilities, they will not get big score gains. So, the result of this approach—judging teachers by the score gains of their students—will incentivize teachers to avoid students with the greatest needs. This is just plain stupid as a matter of policy.
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Making war on teachers and principals is ridiculous, outrageous. None of the people at the foundations or in the policymaking circles work as hard as the average teacher, face as many challenges every day, for as little pay. None of the pundits who blithely denounce teachers would work 20 years with the hope of getting a salary (today) of $52,000.
Yeah: the problem with education is the people who actually give enough of a $hit about education to go to college for four years, and frequently earn Master’s Degrees and even Ph.D.s so that they can become teachers. It’s not the administrators or school boards who set the parameters and conditions for teachers’ work. It’s not the public that regularly votes down school levies because of their terribly “oppressive” burden of taxation. It’s not the fault of the U.S. citizenry, which is more interested in subsidizing the elderly than in providing food or medical care for children. It’s not the parents of children who are too tired, too busy, too distracted, or too drunk or high to send their children to school with clean clothes and full stomachs, let alone be engaged with their children’s educations.
Instead, we blame the teachers. It must be their fault. After all, they’re the only ones showing up for the kids every day. But this is America, where we mistrust anyone who doesn’t sell out for the top dollar, and anyone who would choose to consort with low-status people like children, day in and day out. After all, they don’t vote. They don’t have any money. They don’t have any power. They don’t even have as much candy as they used to. What kind of losers would be willing to work with them?