Is Education Reform Like Crack for Columnists?
But seriously, whatever one may think of these columnists they are certainly not stupid, especially Mr. Brooks, who wrote the title of his column in French, which is not even on the standardized test that columnists must take in order to be hired by the TImes. So why do they produce such drivel on the subject of public education? Allow EduShyster to offer a few insightful observations.
We are all education reformers now
Remember the old days when rich people got together and sipped sauvignon blanc, ate smoked oysters off of tooth picks and compared no load mutual funds? That was before the entire 1% came down with a wildly infectious case of something we might call achievement gap fever. Prominent Democrats (especially hedge fund managers and columnists) appear particularly susceptible. Why, darling, even Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker is an education reformer.
Paul Tough is a GENIUS
As much as liberal elites may mock the right for being the victims of epistemic closure, the #edreform world increasingly functions as an echo chamber.Case in point: the current liberal fixation on firing teachers as the cure-all to ending poverty.Seriously? That’s all we have to do? The problem with a circle jerk of ideas is that it tends to lead only in one direction: hysterical madness! Hence Kristof’s implication (ala “Waiting for Superman”) that bad teachers actually cause poverty.
They don’t know anyone who actually teaches (and no, having a niece in Teach for America doesn’t count)
Brilliant ideas like using so-called value-added models to measure teacher effectiveness tend to get even more brilliant the more drinks one has, or the further one’s proximity from an actual public school. In fact, the utter nonsensicality of Chicago’s proposal on teacher evaluation requires vast flagons of alcohol in ordrer to make any sense at all.
They don’t know any poor people
In education reform land, poor kids–especially the poor minority kids whose adorable faces appear on every #edreform website–are only one great teacher away from becoming the next Barack Obama. How great would it be if only we could get rid of all of the bad teachers (using sophisticated VAM technology–see above–coupled with removal of workplace protections). There woudl be Barack Obamas EVERYWHERE. In other words, a Democrats for Education Reform wet dream–well, maybe without all of that mean talk about Wall Street…
The newspaper they work for is looking to sell stuff to public schools
The future of newspapers–and all US media for that matter–is not loans from Carlos Slim but figuring out how to unload edu-products into the public schools. But as long as teachers are overpaid and overprotected, as we learned from Kristof, Brooks, et al, there isn’t enough left over dough to spring for all of that eduproduct. Now that’s an equation that even a New York Times columnist can understand.