The March 15, 2010 issue of Newsweek argues that "The Key to American Education" is firing "bad" teachers. What "bad" means is not addressed. But the magazine's blame on the "relative decline of American education..." lands clearly with teacher tenure and teachers' unions.
Again, as the education system is evaluated, contributing factors are ignored. Where is consideration for poverty, for family structure, for lack of health care and proper nutrition, for the media's influence?
While I believe Newsweek's claim that "...ranked against European schoolchildren, America does about as well as Lithuania, behind at least ten other nations." But where is the comparison between single-parent families? What are those kids eating over there? What are they watching on TV? What video games are they playing?
Here in Oregon, where there is no teacher tenure, the increasing difficulty of Leaving No Child Behind can't be blamed on "bad" teachers. Simply, educating students is nearing impossible here because of everything else. Because after those students slept in a car the night before, when they've had Fritos and Pepsi for breakfast, when their mom is on meth, they are tested on a two-page writing sample titled, "My Favorite Family Tradition."
Can anyone say "Maslow's Hierarchy?"
I want American education to be better. I want it to be the best in the world. But teachers aren't responsible for that. Believe me, we're doing what we can.
How about this? How about instead of blaming teachers for America's academic failure, we look to our society. Or how about just fixing the problem?
$100,000 yearly salaries would lure some pretty qualified educators from business, medical, and government fields (The one sentence with which I agree is Newsweek's inclusion of a study which shows that American "teachers are recruited from the bottom third of college-bound high-school students," of which I was one. "Finland tales the top 1o percent.") So, yes, there's the money issue. And while we're finally spending, let's offer two high-protein, unprocessed, organic meals a day. For free. Let's hand over the problem kids to law enforcement, and ratchet up suspensions and expulsions, minimizing learning distractions. And class sizes? Under 20. With support staff. Like Japan. Curriculum? Reformed. It's out with New Math and back to basics. The stuff we learned, and understood. Memorizing times tables. Cursive. Plus deep appreciation for the arts.
It only takes money, right? Money, and a good, hard look at where education is failing, and why. And neither has anything to do with tenure or unions.
FALL 2015 TOUR
1 year ago