I woke up this morning thinking that today I would be unable to post on my blog. That would be a first, and I was not happy about it. Since I started this blog a month ago, I have posted–let’s see–I think this is blog #89. I didn’t want to miss even one day.
I’m on my way to Atlantic City to speak to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. The car is bouncing a bit, but I can still hit the right keys with my one finger (yes, I can type with both hands, but this is an iPad). So I am reading articles downloaded from the Internet and posting blogs and tweets.
Why do I write so much? I’ve been writing about and studying education for 40 years, and I have a long perspective on the events of the day. I read articles about something happening today and my tendency is to put it into perspective. Sometimes I react with astonishment about the ideas being promoted, sometimes with alarm, sometimes with amusement.
I can’t believe, for example, how teachers are routinely bullied by legislatures and think tanks and the media. Everyone has big ideas about how to fix the schools or “improve teacher quality,” but those with the big ideas have almost never been teachers. In what other arena do we accord the mantle of expertise to those who have never done the work? How exactly will it improve teaching to take away or reduce teachers’ pensions or to make it easier to fire them or to tie their job evaluation to their students’ test scores? Tests measure student performance, not teacher performance. How does it improve education to allow people to teach who have little or no training or preparation?
Teachers are right to feel demoralized, but they should not feel powerless. They should use social media to the max, and let the politicians who bully them know that teachers have long memories and will be heard from at the next election.
We live in an era of magical thinking, where any bad idea will be enacted if it cuts the budget or turns a profit for an entrepreneur or claims to “save” poor kids. Most such schemes are a cover for transferring taxpayer dollars to private hands, results unknowable until someday in the distant future.