In the midst of a hard discussion on a tough subject

Response to my earlier “essay” from a woman calling herself New York parent

I am missing why all the love for lafared’s essay.

To me, this is exactly what the right wingers say about teachers. There are some good ones and some bad ones. We need to get rid of the bad ones.

But the problem is no one wants to address HOW to identify and get rid of the bad ones. If I was really being anti-union, I would say that the decades of unions protections of bad teachers are the reason that ed reform came into being. Since once a teacher has tenure they must commit a crime to lose their job, how does one get rid of them?

Some reformers came up with a pro-union solution — which is probably why Randi Weingarten didn’t oppose it in the beginning. Use this curriculum and teach it and no one can accuse the teacher of being “bad”.

That solution was not pro-TEACHER. But it was pro-UNION.

Does anyone dare to agree with the notion that you need to get rid of the union to get good teaching?

Because I guarantee you that the right wing Republicans would be delighted to trade the entire Common Core testing regime if you can just get rid of the union and all job protections for teachers so that only the good ones remain.

After all, their agenda has never been the Common Core. It has been figuring out how to get rid of the union and all protections for teachers.

Randi Weingarten’s has been how to keep the union and agreeing to Common Core was part of that.

I have no doubt if you offered an exchange where we get rid of Common Core AND the union so that those “great” teachers that lafared are rewarded and the lousy ones (as judged by the principal or some higher up administrator) get fired, the right wing Republicans would embrace it.


My response:

I would caution that people do not react on the basis of labels and the behavior they signify but on ideas and, if schools are problematic and if there are too many bad teachers, and if there are too many disaffected students and if their are too many dropouts and if students graduate without the skills, knowledge and disposition that are essential to being an active and effective member of a democratic society, then we should be concerned with cause and remedies. I am a supporter of unions. I am in no way against for what I think AFT and NEA stand. I am for examining their role creating the problems as well as their contribution to the good. For me it is not a matter of pro-union or anti-union, or for that matter left and right, liberal and conservative. It is a matter of what students need to achieve meaningful, sensible, empowering educational goals.

I support teachers and in supporting them, I have to point to those who make teachers look bad and hope with all my heart that they will find another profession. I hope with all my heart that more of the best and brightest will decide to teach and I will continue to fight like hell against any institution or policy that contributes to low status in society for teachers (how can that be!!!!!!??????) and the concomitant lacking in the remuneration good teachers receive for their good work.

I say that we agree on goals. My reading of the CCSS is not that they are evil, that a good many are rock solid in what they show to be the kind of things that students should be able to do when they graduate high school. I love that the preface to the mathematics standards that orient toward students knowing how to think mathematically, know when the different kinds of mathematical manipulations taught in the various courses can be applied, what problems can be solved by their application. I like so many of the English standards, particularly the one that calls for students to be able to read and understand the foundational documents of the American nation, to be able to read Supreme Court decisions, both the majority and minority opinions and then argue themselves for which are right and which are wrong. I like too the Next Generation Science Standards because they too are oriented toward developing students’ ability to think scientifically, to not just memorize science principles but to understand them and be able to consider their elegance for the ways in which they may be applied to make incredible things happen.

So, criticize me if you find fault. I will think about what you say and probably respond. But as I said at the beginning of what is my second essay of the day, education and the educational system need to be fixed so that with graduation comes initiative, inventiveness, heightened creativity, and the kind of empowerment that allows people act upon their world and in there work in an informed and reasonable manner. It is these very things that the powers that be do not like because their power, so much and so often, depends on a citizenry that is not informed and reasonable. Bad, really bad and to ignore the reason for the state of schools in this country is to make it impossible to do what is necessary to make them the most wonderful places in the world.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

3 replies on “In the midst of a hard discussion on a tough subject”

I have been following Diane for many years and know of her history, of her miraculous turn about in thinking after having helped to engineer NCLB. Here support of teachers is interesting and I have to wonder if she would support the cause of insuring that those allowed to teach are capable of doing so as individuals so smart as to be able to help students grow intellectually without others having to direct their every move. My suspicion is that what Diane supports is a pool of teachers who were inculcated in the “values” of NCLB and who are of a type that is better at following orders that helping students learn what they need to be shapers of the order. Tell me if I am wrong.

A technical (and possibly political) question. When you post to DR’s blog do you get the note that tells you your post is awaiting moderation? Maybe I missed this on previous posts to the site but I came up just now so I am wondering whether my posts in particular are being scrutinized before being allowed to be put up.

So I see you got to jump right in the deep end your first day on Diane’s blog. You will soon discover – as most of us regular commenters have already discovered – NYCPSP is a bit of a raging nutcase. Say one thing she (? – not sure about gender but hints that she is female) disagrees with and you’ll get a umpteen paragraph rant twisting your words and making personal insults. If you respond in any way, no matter how diplomatically, then you are “attacking” her and she plays a mighty fine martyr. Have fun!

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