Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Now Newsweek jumps on the bandwagon

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Note to Evan Thomas of Newsweek, you are years behind the times in terms of blaming teachers for the ills of education in America.

In a move that pretty much surprises no one, Newsweek added it’s two cents in an article entitled “Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers”.  Wow, very catching.  I would summarize the article for you, but unless you have been under a rock for a decade, you already know the drill.

-Teachers have no accountability.

-Teachers are the most important piece to the puzzle.

-Top college students don’t become teachers.

-Look at how wonderful the KIPP schools are.

-Unions get in the way.

-Teach for America was created by a God among men.

-Michelle Rhee should bear my children.

Yada, yada, yada.

I’ve said many times that I agree that we should fire bad teachers, but that’s not the main problem with Education.  The main problem, the same problem that Newsweek just exacerbated, is that there is a false prioritization of Education.  When you want to actually address the entire issue, and not a small percentage of teachers that suck, then we’ll get somewhere. 

By the way, here is a comment from the page containing the article;

In no other profession are such low standards accepted. In no other country is such mediocrity accepted. When a teacher can have 50% of their class not even graduate and yet still teach, as in Rhode Island, then you don't need to be teaching. If a doctor kills 50% of his patients….guess what happens? THEY GET FIRED!

I’d like to point out to the commentator that the doctor is not responsible for the idiocy of his patients.  Question.  If the doctor gives a patient with heart disease a workout routine, dietary advice, prescription drugs, and tells the patient to stop smoking, and the patient does none of those things and dies, will the doctor be fired?  Of course not.  I would argue that teaching is one of the few professions were teachers are held responsible for things that are completely out of their control on a regular basis.  Only our patients often have special needs, can’t speak English, and are encouraged by society not to take the prescription drugs because their heart isn’t that important in the mind of Mom and Dad. 

For instance, I was told that our district might not pass our API/AYP requirements this year because not enough students took the California High School Exit Exam, with excused absences from their parents.  A parent can also sign their children out of taking the STAR tests, which again negatively impacts our standings, thus our funding, and other services we can provide.  Basically the patient can blame the doctor for being inadequate because he didn’t act on the healthy routine in the first place. 

But at least he had a note from Mom excusing him, so that makes it ok.

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