Tuesday, July 13, 2010

suggestion for all and question to teacher re Gates' comments

Principals can come into a teacher's room as often as they like. Gates knows this; Gates is a liar.

Interesting that he likens teachers to factory workers. Even more interesting that he likens students to crappy merchandise.

That's what this is really all about. They need an inexpensive but compliant and productive labor pool, and that means us and our students down the road.

Older, more experienced teachers push back on this plan, but soon there won't be anyone left in education who remembers any other way.

Teaching will be just like working in a factory, but without unions or worker's rights. A transient, at-will, low wage position, churning out cookie-cutter wage slaves who can follow directions without thinking too much.

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 1:31 PM, Leonie Haimson leonie@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

I really hope that parents and teachers post their comments on the Gates foundation webpage, "Teachers matter most" here:


If they truly believe that teachers matter most, they should be listening to what they have to say.

So far, there are only four comments on the page, and two of them are mine!

Also, I have a question about something Gates said at the TED conference in Feb. 2009, according to a transcript provided here: http://education.change.org/blog/view/framing_teachers_bill_gates_disturbing_ted_rhetoric

(there is also a link to a video that has been seen thousands of times, but I dont have the patience to watch it.)

"When you actually go and sit in one of these [KIPP] classrooms, at first it's very bizarre. I sat down and I thought, "What is going on?" The teacher was running around, and the energy level was high. I thought, "I'm in the sports rally or something. What's going on?" And the teacher was constantly scanning to see which kids weren't paying attention, which kids were bored, and calling kids rapidly, putting things up on the board. It was a very dynamic environment, because particularly in those middle school years -- fifth through eighth grade -- keeping people engaged and setting the tone that everybody in the classroom needs to pay attention, nobody gets to make fun of it or have the position of the kid who doesn't want to be there. Everybody needs to be involved. And so KIPP is doing it.

How does that compare to a normal school? Well, in a normal school teachers aren't told how good they are. The data isn't gathered. In the teacher's contract, it will limit the number of times the principal can come into the classroom -- sometimes to once per year. And they need advanced notice to do that. So imagine running a factory where you've got these workers, some of them just making crap and the management is told, "Hey, you can only come down here once a year, but you need to let us know, because we might actually fool you, and try and do a good job in that one brief moment."

Question for you teachers: is this true, that in the teacher's contract, either in NYC elsewhere, principals are forbidden to come into classrooms any time they like, and/or have to give advance warning?
This certainly was not the practice in any of the public schools my children attended.
If this is an "urban myth" propounded by Gates he should be called out on it. Again, please put your comments on the Gates foundation page here:
Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters

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