An archive of articles and listserve postings of interest, mostly posted without commentary, linked to commentary at the Education Notes Online blog. Note that I do not endorse the points of views of all articles, but post them for reference purposes.
so-called education reform movement decided long ago that change could
come only through confrontation. Teachers figured that out when the
secretary of education, Arne Duncan, called Hurricane Katrina “the best
thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans"; seven years
later the teachers union is washed away and the public schools are
mostly charter-ized. They figured that out when the White House
celebrated the firing of the entire teaching staff in Central Falls,
R.I., because of students’ low test scores. And it became clearer to
them when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York published teachers'
names alongside standardized test results of their students.
Now, finally, a unionized group of teachers has decided to meet this confrontation head-on.
Teachers have come to realize that the 'reform movement' is about confronting them, not working with them.
evaluating teachers based on standardized test scores is a bad idea for
teaching and learning, then the Chicago Teachers Union strike is good
for teachers and students. If small class sizes are good for teaching
and learning, then the strike is good for teachers and students. For
that matter, if air-conditioning is good for teaching and learning, then the strike is good for teachers and students.
teacher pay, tenure and even employment status to standardized test
scores corrupts the teacher-student relationship and inspires no one.
This carrot-and-stick routine won’t retain great teachers, and may turn
our best teachers into test prep tutors. Any experienced classroom
teacher will tell you that punishments and rewards at best encourage
obedience, but will not promote creativity, intelligence or initiative.
taught in three different public schools in New York City. Where I was
able to be my best depended as much on the class sizes, the conditions,
the financing, the materials available to me, the support staff for
teachers, the support for students and the climate created by
administration, as it did on my own efforts and abilities.
Rahm Emanuel’s “reforms” in Chicago will not improve any of those very
important factors, and are deleterious to all of them. By confronting
the mayor and standing up for things teachers and students desperately
need to actually improve our schools, the union is likely to do more to
retain the best teachers, and to help more teachers to do their best,
than any merit pay scheme ever could.