A new reader has joined our discussion and is looking for answers to important questions. I assured this reader that we have explored these topics in some depth; that we know that the purpose of reform is to eliminate unions; to get rid of tenure; to cut the budget for schools; and to privatize the greatest extent possible, with profits where possible for smart investors in “reform.”
I invite the new reader to hang out with us and join our discussion.
Any advice for the new member of our discussion group?
|Please forgive me if I am pulling this conversation back to farmed-out ground (I’m new); but is it fair to say that the gist of the corporate-backed educational “reform” movements today is generating cheaper teachers?This is how the equation boils down for me (a public school teacher). As I’ve been trained to show my work, my thinking is that the greatest “reform” that privatization and charter school movements bring is the elimination of union contracts. And that the primary consequence of eliminating unions in any field is lower labor costs.If the above argument holds water, is it acceptable to eliminate the obfuscating phrase “educational reform movement ” and replace it with the clearer “reducing educator salary” movement? Or, more simply, the “labor-busting” movement? Or the “cheapness” movement?In a similar vein, I am wondering if Dr. Ravitch and others have exposed the cant behind the argument that problems with tenure stem from unions. There don’t seem to be many general-public sources pointing out that no one from a public teacher’s union awards tenure to teachers. Every single public decision to grant tenure is made by an elected school board, advised by its appointed educational managers. If the nation’s schools are saddled with incompetent tenured teachers, the blame falls on leadership and management, does it not? From all the complaints being voiced about tenure that outsiders — many from the world of corporate management — it seems pretty clear to me that the nations educational managers apparently couldn’t recognize an incompetent teacher if they got hit with a hammer by one of them. What is eliminating tenure going to help this group of apparently bumbling crop of managers transform into brilliant predictors of pedagogy? At least tenure forces educational decision-makers to live with the consequences of their incompetence. Lifting the pressure of having to evaluate their teachers in three years and educational managers will be even less accountable for their bad decisions. In the world of corporate management, weakening the chains of accountability is an insane act — something that you would think the corporate nabobs nattering about our schools would understand. Unless they absolutely do understand what they are saying is absurd but don’t care, since the real goal isn’t improving our schools at all.|