Sunday, March 3, 2013

Teacher standoff stokes debate...My letter to Reuters

     I get excited when I see attention being brought to the issue of the testing tsunami that has passed for school reform without much debate-until recently. When I read this Reuters article by Eric M. Johnson I was reminded how willing most media outlets are to push the "failing schools in need of reform up against stubborn ineffective teachers and their unions" line. Check out the article and respond. I think My comment was the first, so if you don't see it, here it is:

That this article leads off with a slam on American schools by comparing our system negatively to Finland and South Korea, then ends with Michelle Rhee talking about accountability in a profession she clearly is unqualified to speak substantively about, reveals Reuters place in this debate. 

Reuters, are readers to believe our schools should be more like those of Finland and South Korea? Maybe we should look at how our schools are different, and address the differences we can. We already test more and respect teachers less. Does increasing tests and allowing industry and non-teachers to assail educators with criticism and well-funded test-heavy reform address the stark contrast between U.S. schools and those successful models? 

Follow up this article by asking who REALLY will gain by allowing "reform" to be driven by: 1)data ware-housing by Rupert Murdoch owned companies and fed by 2)data creating industries whose tests will be forced upon public schools and students by 3)state officials and politicians who flow in and out of these industries and their lobbying/legislative organizations (ALEC, TFA,...). Say what you will about teacher unions. At least they are open about their agenda, and are comprised largely of people who know what the job REALLY is, and what success when you are in the classroom looks like.

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