Sunday, September 26, 2010

Education and the Demonization of Teachers

Laura at 11D cannot wait to see Waiting for Superman. I cannot think of a movie I'd least like to see. In fact, I am so underwhelmed by what I've read of it (specifically, Roger Ebert's glowing review) that I am thinking An Inconvenient Truth must be a bad movie because of Guggenheim's involvement in both.

All the edtech people I read on Twitter have been down on it. Will Richardson twinked (twitter-linked--hey, I can make up twords, too!) to Gary Stager's post on NBC's Education Nation, which outlines several myths about education, which I will quote:

That narrative is based on the following myths:

1. Public education is destroying America
2. There is a sudden emergency of bad teachers sweeping the land
3. Schools should be run more like businesses (Education Nation’s patron Eli Broad believes this, but should we listen to a man who served on the board of AIG?)
4. Charter schools, merit pay, standardized testing and mayoral control are the magic beans that will save children from wretched teachers
5. When we fire all of the zillions of bad teachers a whole new crop of fantastic ones will grow in a Washington D.C. cornfield
6. The best and brightest will eagerly become teachers when we remove all teacher autonomy and reduce teaching to test prep and script reading
7. Unqualified is the new qualified as exemplified by Teach for America’s zeal to create unqualified missionaries to replace teachers
8. Getting tougher is the same as reform
9. Michelle Rhee was victimized by enemies of school reform (teachers) when voters rejected her tactics and bankrupt educational vision (thanks Nora O’Donnell)
10. Billionaires are smart!
11. Racism and intergenerational poverty have nothing to do with academic achievement
12. The purpose of education is job readiness
13. Teacher layoffs, budget cuts and union busting are just three ways of saying “We should pay teachers more, but them accountable.”
14. Poor children need educational experiences much different from those afforded the children of the powerful
15. We should all run out to the cineplex and see Waiting for Superman!

I love #5. I disagree a little with 12.

Am writing a post on my experience at AANE this weekend (positive experience but it's a long one and I'm still working on it).

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