from under the bridge…

Wow.  I’ve been gone a long time, and much has happened on the education front since I last posted.  First, and foremost, parents and educators are finally waking up to the charter school movement hustle.  It’s about time, I say, and maybe this latest attempt to kill public education has run its course.  Only time will tell.

On the long-running attempts to discredit and demean teachers, recent news shows that teacher ratings systems don’t really do what they claim to do.  Anyone with a lick of common sense saw this coming a mile away, but the gullible seem to be in great supply in this country.  The school reform hucksters count on this for their bread and butter, but the masses are catching on to their slight of hand.

I love how the hucksters constantly blame teacher’s unions for all the ills in education.  They pretend that top-down management is a good thing, but conveniently ignore it where the results are less than favorable.  Then it’s all about the workers not performing up to par.  Nonsense.  I’ve yet to see a low-performing school where the administration wasn’t at fault—at least in those cases where the school and its employees have any impact at all.

That’s the point, really.  The schools and teachers can only have an impact on the differences where everything else is equal.  Give me a school with sufficient funding, involved parents, and well-fed and rested students who are motivated, and I can pick a staff of teachers literally at random from the worst performing schools in the nation and be successful.

Then there’s the testing debacle.  Of course, we need to test kids to see if they are indeed learning what we are teaching, but this evaluation should be primarily up to the teacher, not some faceless corporation set up for the sole purpose of making money administering tests.  In some states, the testing mania has led to kids taking fifteen or more high-stakes tests, taking precious time away from actual instruction.

Unless you run a private school, of course.  Then you’re exempt.  Can’t go testing those for-profit schools, oh no.  We might accidentally learn something we don’t want to know.

That’s enough to chew on for now.

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