Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Punish the teachers? What's wrong with education "reform" today - Diane Ravitch

Chris Christie, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Corey Booker, George W. Bush.  What do they all have in common?  Test the kids, punish the teachers, wreck the teachers unions.  Diane Ravitch - a reformed reformer - takes on Michelle Rhee - one of the current icons in the efforts to weaken our public school system. - GWC

Did Michelle Rhee's Policies in D.C. Work? TPM Book Review
by Diane Ravitch
"Michelle Rhee has been one of the most polarizing figures in American education in recent years. Some consider her the face of the current “reform” movement. After serving for nearly four years as chancellor of the D.C. public schools, she then created a group called StudentsFirst, whose goal was to change education policy across the nation by raising $1 billion. Although she has not raised $1 billion, she has raised large sums of money to elect candidates to state legislatures who favor charters and vouchers and who want to eliminate collective bargaining, end due process rights for teachers, judge teachers by the test scores of their students, and ensure that teachers have no job security.
I don’t know Rhee personally, and I had hoped to debate her at Lehigh University in February, but she canceled her original agreement to debate.
I admit that I oppose her policies because I believe they promote privatization of public education and the destruction of the teaching profession. No other nation—at least, no high-performing nation—judges teachers by the test scores of their students. None of the nations that score at the top of international tests takes such a harsh and punitive approach towards teachers. Instead, they have high standards for selection into teaching (they would not permit young college graduates with only five weeks of training to join their teacher corps); they support and develop their teachers; and they help them improve their craft.

Our goal, if we are to learn from nations like Finland, for example, should be to build a stronger teaching profession, one that is respected and admired. This is very different from the present policy advocated by Rhee of using test scores to find and fire “bad” teachers...."

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