Corey Robin evaluates whether the strike hurt the kids, as the critics of CTU allege.
When people say that the strike “hurt the children”, they’re playing to the parents who are inconvenienced by the lack of free babysitters. I was at a forum with Eric Zorn tonight (he was on the panel, I was in the audience) and he pointed out something to that effect. I don’t remember exactly what he said and I hope I don’t distort his meaning by paraphrasing, but he said that one of the telling things about the strike was how it brought to the forefront how at least to some degree, schools are indeed looked at as warehouses more than educational institutions.
As far as the educational time “lost”, it will be made up just like snow days are made up. In fact, if parents had gotten their kids involved in the strike, they could have had perhaps a more educational experience than what they might have gotten in the classroom, plus they’ll still get the classroom time.
Somewhat off-topic, but speaking of this forum, two of the panelists (not Eric) started talking about how techology has advanced to the point that we could have larger classrooms with one “expert” teacher on video and just one or two staff to monitor the class on a behavioral level. The implication was that these two behavior monitors would be cheaper than having one actual teacher, so I guess we’re talking $10/hour babysitters. It would also be more cost effective because one such video teacher could teach nearly unlimited classes. And, it would be more effective for the students because this “expert” teacher would be an expert in the subject and better able to explain things than a regular teacher, because teachers often get stuck teaching subjects they may not have been properly trained to teach. They did try to make it sound sympathetic to teachers, but I was getting ill and behaving like a proper audience member was rather difficult. I really wanted to ask who they think is going to read, grade and give feedback on the assignments all these kids would be producing – the virtual “teacher”? the babysitters? Eric said that he thought such an idea would be effective at the high school level but not for younger students who need more one-on-one attention.
Keep in mind, all three panelists are considered liberal – Obama supporting liberal, that is. Just goes to show that most people, on both ends of the political spectrum, who have not set foot in a classroom have no idea what goes in to effective teaching.
Another reform idea about cutting costs, not improving education
Indeed. All three panelists were worried about where the money for the strike settlement would come from. Funny how no one ever asks where the money for new charter schools comes from.
The strike taught my grandchild and so many more children like her that people should stand up for what they believe in; to thoroughly read any document you sign; to join with people who have the same causes because many things can’t be done alone and that democracy is messy and hard to achieve, but worth it in the end. Not one week, or even one semester of civics, social studies or so called critical thinking instruction could teach that.. We saw and marched with the teachers, we heard them asking for fairness and we felt and agreed with their pain. If anything, our children were helped to have a greater appreciation for their teachers because they believe that the teachers stood up for them. What a great way for a new start!
There was a student out with the teachers on the line with a sign that said (something like),”I’m having my Social Studies lesson.” Numerous parents reported that they read with their children, had them work in workbooks they’d purchased, or took them to the museum or to the library.
On the other hand (& I will not write the parent’s name here), a parent told The Chicago Sun-Times (which wrote,(she)”is fed up with the union, and out of ideas for her boys.” ”We are tired of being together. So we spent the day at home, pretty much on each other’s throats. I mean, what is so bad in the world that we have to keep kids from school?”‘
This mom is sure sharing her true feelings toward teachers. I bet it carries over into the classroom with her children. Prayers for the teachers who teach her kids and the parent-teacher conferences that are ahead.
There is a parent that needs to spend a day in her child’s classroom. If she and her kids are at each others’ throats, think of the kids’ poor teachers who have them all day, (now 7 hours), every day.
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