Peter Greene has a ball with the U.S. Department of Education’s latest fantasy plan: Every child has a civil right to a “highly qualified teacher.”
Who is a “highly qualified teacher”? Any teacher who can raise test scores or anyone who belongs to Teach for America and leaves before the third year of test scores are reported.
It is all super but here is the laugh-out-loud deconstruction of Duncan-style logic:
“Discussion of teaching as a civil right often circles back around to the assertion that poor students have more lousy teachers than non-poor students. This assertion rests primarily on a model of circular reasoning. Follow along.
“A) Teachers are judged low-performing because their students score poorly on tests.
“B) Students low test scores are explained by the fact that they have low-performing teachers.
“Or, framed another way, this argument defines a low-quality teacher as any teacher whose students don’t do well on standardized tests. The assumption is that teachers are the only single solitary explanation for student standardized test scores. Nothing else affects those scores. Only teacher behavior explains the low scores. That’s it.
“Ergo, the best runners are runners who run down hills. Runners who are running uphill are slow runners, and must be replaced by those good runners– the ones we find running downhill. Or, the wettest dogs are the ones who are out in the rain, while the driest ones are the ones indoors. So if we take the indoor dogs outside, we will have drier dogs in the yard. While it rains.
“As long as we define low-quality teachers as those who teach low-achieving students (who we know will mostly be the children of poor folk), low-achieving students will always be taught by low-quality teachers. It’s the perfect education crisis, one that can never, ever be solved.”