While many muse as a culture we cannot continue "Waiting for Superman" to transform our schools, others expect our teachers to be Supermen or Superwomen. Some say private school educators are superior. Only the instructors employed in public educational institutions are flawed. There seems to be agreement in our society that these teachers cannot take the lead.
The system, critics cry, must change. Philanthropists proclaim they are here to save the day. Privatization is the only way to work through what has been a woeful failure. No, administrators and the current administration avow -- teachers are the problem. We must assess their performance and pay educators accordingly..
Still other experts defend the trend; student test scores will determine success..
So it goes. Lessons are now taught only as they apply to standardized examinations. The ways in which pupils learn best is not a consideration. Creativity, critical thought, a policy that cultivates curiosity -- all are null and void. There is no place for these in American schools, at least not in the public institutions.
Perchance private industry can or will create some semblance of these Charter School classrooms. The thought is that a well-paid pedagogical professional, a person who has never truly worked with pupils, will produce the desired results. This strident "suit" will enforce effective policies. Thus, the drama begins. It builds daily in schools throughout the nation.
A principal, head master, or educational authority stands in front of a Teachers meeting and states, "Let's begin today's collaborative planning meeting with successes and challenges. Who would like to volunteer some successes? You are all required to volunteer successes."
A mentor moves the conversation forward. "My students are not understanding verse structure. We have been working on it for three days....".
The administrator retorts, "That is not a success. You need to mention a success for this week.
In response the instructor explains, "There have not been any this week. Today is Tuesday and Monday was a holiday."
Delighted, the director declares, "See, it was not hard to find a success. Stop being so negative and we can get more done. Does anyone have a challenge to volunteer?"
The convoluted cycle continues. Listen closely. Everything you need to know about what propels school reform today is outlined in this dialogue. The absurd obsession with assessment, schedules, and data has brought rigidity to our nation's classrooms and curriculums. Instruction and an authentic internalization of information are impossible.
Yet, all appears impressive. The statistics look good, skewed as the numbers are -- and look at the dollars we have poured into [inadequate] education.
Surely, school reform 2010 will be a certain success. This country will Race to the Top. The question is will administrators and the administration realize that once again, every child and all that connects a student to a curriculum has been left behind.
References, Resources, Sources for School Reform . . .
- Waiting for 'Superman': Are Teachers the Problem? By Richard Corliss. Time. September 29, 2010
- Facebook Founder to Donate $100 Million to Help Remake Newark's Schools, By Richard Perez-Pena. the New York times. September 22, 2010
- Educator: 'Race to the Top's' 10 false assumptions, By Marion Brady. Washington Post October 23, 2009
- The Start of an Interesting and Dangerous School Year, By Diane Ravitch. Education Week. September 9, 2009
- Teachers Unions Give 'Race To The Top' Failing Grade, By Jenna Staul. Huffington Post. October 20, 2009
- Wil Race to the Top leave No Child Behind? To the Point. Tuesday, January 12, 2010
- In School Turnarounds, the Human Element is Crucial, By Laura Pappano. Education Week. October 25, 2010
- Real change can occur in our schools only when teachers take the lead. Teachers Lead. 2010
- New York City plan to grade teachers with 'value-added' data is destructive, By Diane Ravitch. New York Daily News. October 25, 2010
- School Fiscal Concerns Haunt Electoral Landscape, By Alyson Klein and Sean Cavanaugh. Education Week. October 27, 2010
- Race to the Top. Department of Education.
- Demonizing Public Education, By Diane Ravitch. Education Week. October 26, 2010