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Smart List: 60 People Shaping the Future of K-12 Education
2 Replies to “Odds & Ends”
I would like to read Matt Miller’s paper as visionary. I like the way he compares today’s situation to the time of the New Deal. I would like a progressive effort to raise education to a national priority. I would love to join a progressive coalition, that welcomes moderates and convervative.
I can’t take a proposal seriously though as long as people are defending the NCLB-type of accountability. Again, I compare the issue to progressives in the 1930s. Some of my heroes opposed the New Deal from the Left because they wanted to rationalize our economy, especially agriculture. Others committed to dam building. They saw the potential for electricity and irrigation, but they were oblivious to ecology. Others still had a desire for social engineering. I’m glad the New Deal won. I wish we had listened to some its critics on the Left, but I’m glad that other Leftists (who I might had supported) were unsuccessful. We don’t yet have the wisdom for social engineering or to ignore environmental dynamics.
If we can’t even admit that the primitive accountability blame game driven by shame that is NCLB is a failure, how can we move ahead on a national educational agenda? The joke in New York City is that Klein wants “one election, one time.” Is he a social engineer or is he just blind to the complex ecology of education? True believers in hard accountability seem to me like the Glenn Canyon Dam builders who flooded a jewel of Nature to meet their economic goals.
A national system, counter-intuitively, could produce more collaboration and less top-down mandates. But we need more trust-building, and if we can’t yet get NCLB supporters to back off from the laws obvious failures, how can we risk the principles of a liberal education that is respectful to all?
On TEP Charter School in NYC ($125K/teacher). As a charter school teacher in Boston, I certainly would love to see my salary increase into that (very far away) range. However, I wonder where they are going to find the cash to reallocate to teachers if they are not fundraising. A quick look at the website makes it seem as if their amazing teachers will be taking on most administrative roles in the building, from recruitment to HS placement to discipline. Sounds like a great idea, but my sense is that somehow they are going to be able to take on those roles after regular school hours. I was wondering how a disciplinarian deals with discipline when the students aren’t there?!? I think this seems a little naive.