For decades before the government stepped in with its policies to improve education and demand 'standards', our public schools produced a fine education for our people. The question to ask, is what changed? The answer will demonstrate that it was not the quality of teachers, but the interference by non-educators who have no conception of what learning looks like, or what the 'grunt' on the line, the teacher, or the 'practitioner' actually must do to motivate the students to learn. Teachers have not suddenly become incompetent, the system has changed the practice to confirm to anti-learning agendas, assuring the failure of the public school system.
The 'genuine' Standards (the Harvard thesis that WAS the New Standards) had 8 principles for "learning,' and four of them were directed at the school
itself, insuring that classrooms are not only properly supplied, but are safe, quiet and conducive to learning. When teachers enter a classroom with today's population of students, their hands (and mouths) are 'tied.' They cannot do what teachers have done in the past, planned interesting lessons to meet objectives (real performance standards) judging what is needed, not merely to determine content, and using their experience and knowledge base to motivate and sustain interest. They must teach to a test, not provide interesting lessons that stimulate critical thinking and real learning. They must also provide materials -- many spending thousands, as I did in NYC, to provide classroom supplies and learning materials.
The school cultures are too often set by abusive administrators who do nothing to enable learning, but persecute practitioners, and in too many schools, they are lawless bullies with personal agendas. This is a national scandal, and there is a total blackout on the abusive deprivation of due process which allows administration to attack dedicated Americans who happen to be powerless. Grievance processes have failed to protect them, and the media , controlled by those who profit from the failure of public education spread the same propaganda that they use to disable our political process.
How hard is this to grasp? It is NOT the teachers! Yes, poorly performing novices need help to manage the students and implement learning objectives that succeed, but classrooms filled to overflowing make it impossible for individual learners to participate, and are filled not merely with distracted, modern, 'internet -bred' kids with low attention spans and little exposure to language or literacy in their childhood, but with problem students-- often disabled learners and kids with behavioral problems who are 'mainstreamed' so that dealing with their interference becomes the only object, and maintaining order overrides learning objectives.
Practitioners facilitate learning. They don't merely 'teach.' Learning occurs when conditions are right. Isn't it time we heard about the real standards for LEARNING?
I have written before on the subject of the subversion of the national conversation, and the total blackout of the war on teachers, the real reasons that schools are failing.
I also wrote to an essay on "A Constitutional Scandal" (part one
, and part two
) where Americans who happen to be teachers, are deprived of their right to due process. This is the underlying practice that has emptied the schools and silenced the voices of the professional educator, allowing pundits and self-procalimed 'experts' many of whom ran public school systems (into the ground) to manipulate the media.