Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are Teachers Mad?

A teacher writing on a blackboard.Image via Wikipedia

The Weirdness in Wisconsin (doesn't quite have the rhythm of the Thrila in Manila, does it?) brings a number of significant public policy questions to the forefront? (There are a number of difficult to resist punchlines here- I'll resist for the most part, but here is an example- Why did the Senators flee to Illinois when they could have chosen Minnesota, Iowa or even Canada?)

One story in the news caught my eye though.  Although all kinds of public employees would be affected by the changes proposed in Wisconsin, the story noted that teachers were particularly angry.

I hate to say I told you so (OK well that's not true), but I have been saying since the early days of no child's behind left that teachers are going to get angry.  One of the central principles of NCLB and of education reform in general is that teachers, more specifically public school teachers, stink

Don't get me wrong.  I readily admit that there are some bad teachers.  I'm a product of the Chicago public schools, and I could testify under oath that I had some awful teachers.  I could also testify that I had some great teachers. To conclude that all of the woes of our education system should be blamed on teachers is so simplistic, it has got to be wrong.  

For example, to conclude that a teacher in a high poverty area is bad because her kids scores on standardized tests are way lower that those of the teacher in a high income suburb does not show that the first teacher defies logic.  Yet that seems to be one of the core principles of education reform.  

So teachers are angry.  Are we really surprised?  In this climate, those who decide to become teachers must really love kids.  Good teachers are heroes and I suggest that we give them a little more respect.

Any thoughts?
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