Any Day Now…

Is it me or have the teacher contract talks in Washington, D.C. taken on all the trappings of a snipe hunt?

10 Replies to “Any Day Now…”

  1. Here’s something we can all agree on: It is often very difficult to recruit and retain “the best and the brightest” teachers for K-12 schools, especially those in our lowest-performing districts.

    Many people agree that our top students do not choose classroom teaching and they do not stay in it because of the disrespect and disdain many Americans have for K-12 teachers. In other words, teaching is considered a low-status job with poor working conditions and low salary. Have you thought about how your attitude and this blog contribute to this situation?

  2. Linda,

    If he’s thought about it at all, it’s that he believes himself to be part of the solution not part of the problem, and any attitude he has is very hip, funny, cool and respected by the Washington DC cognescenti whose sole aim is to attain and keep power.

  3. You miss the point entirely, Rotherham is talking about the never-ending contract talks in DCPS. Does *anyone* disagree with that? Did you even read the linked article?

  4. Yes, I read it. I wasn’t referring to content, but rather to the tone of many of Rotherham’s comments. It took me a while, but I finally realized that he is anti-teacher. In my opinion, nothing hurts education more than a negative attitude towards teachers. It has the effect of discouraging talented people from entering the profession.

  5. Linda’s logic emulates that of the “Love it or leave it” mentality used to silence critics of American policies because the criticism is somehow “Un-American”. Instead of viewing the criticism as a way to highlight faults of said policies in an effort to determine what can be improved upon, the perception is that the criticism only causes harm.

    Why does Andrew have to hate our education system?

  6. Criticism of education is a healthy thing; we need it. How else would we improve?

    Attitude is something else. When a person shows disdain and even contempt for teachers, that isn’t constructive. I hadn’t thought of it before, but, yes, it’s very un-American.

  7. I actually agree with Linda. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of years now and yes, there’s something of an anti-teacher spin to it. In general, teachers are viewed as obstacles to change. In my view, the great failing of current attempts at reform is the general the lack of interest in and attention to what teachers know and what they could contribute to the process.

  8. You might want to think about whether crticism of teachers unions is the same as criticism of teachers. Is anyone really anti-teacher? It is sort of a stupid thing to say.

  9. Of course there are people who are anti-teacher! Is that a joke? There are people who are anti-women (misogynists) and I suspect the two are related.

    The unions have given teachers tremendous political power and that rankles a lot of people. However, this power is limited to job security, salaries and benefits. Now that unions are beginning to realize that they can encourage teachers to start their own teacher-led charter schools, the union can help teachers gain a dominant voice in reform.They will make decisions regarding curriculum, instruction and requirements for entry into the profession. Once teachers are at the helm of this reform movement, we’ll begin to see real improvements at last, because nothing will ever happen without the cooperation of the classroom teacher. Also, I strongly believe that teachers know what students need. As to teachers’ unions, they will become professional associations at last, with a scope of influence as wide as that of the American Medical Association.

    Obviously our beliefs are formed in response to our most basic values and assumptions. Just as nothing will happen in the dental office until the dentist makes it happen, nothing will happen in the classroom until the teacher decides to do it. That is a basic assumption of mine. All the reform that is happening now will probably not touch most of our classrooms because teachers don’t have buy-in and they’ll literally and figuratively close their doors to it.

  10. Well, I for one am not anti or pro-teacher… I’m pro-kids having all kids (regardless of their background) obtain the learning gains that are critical to success in both college and career.

    I am agnostic when it comes to teachers, I suppose. Meaning, that if a robot that we programmed could do the job of closing achievement gaps and helping kids learn, but that meant from an economic efficiency standpoint that we had to fire every teacher in America, I’d support it.

    Clearly, we do need some human – or teacher element – to bring about those learning gains, but the point or the tone that you detect in Rotherham and others like him is that this isn’t about the adults in the system. If the adults in the system are getting the job done, then great, keep the same adults in the system. But if they aren’t improving student outcomes for all kids and all they clamor for is more job security, more pay, and smaller class sizes and against accountability, testing, and value-added models, then yeah, call me anti-adults in the system getting a free ride.

    Make sense? Taxpayers pay for school systems. Teachers are essentially bureaucrats that exist to serve the will of the taxpayers. If a majority of the citizens in school district X want to measure school performance by how well kids know their multiplication tables and nothing else, that may be nonsensical, but it’s their prerogative because the schools don’t belong to any special interest, they belong to taxpayers, not adults who have jobs in the system thanks to taxpayers.

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