Three very good posts/articles on school reform issues appeared today:
Linda Darling-Hammond gave an extraordinary speech at Columbia University’s Teachers College titled The Service of Democratic Education. Here’s an excerpt:
These new scientific managers, like those of a century ago, prefer teachers with little training—who will come and go quickly, without costing much money, without vesting in the pension system and without raising many questions about an increasingly prescriptive system of testing and teaching that lines the pockets of private entrepreneurs (who provide teacher-proofed materials deemed necessary, by the way, in part because there are so many underprepared novices who leave before they learn to teach). Curriculum mandates and pacing guides that would “choke a horse,” as one teacher put it, threaten to replace the opportunities for teachable moments that expert teachers know how to create with their students.
The new scientific managers, like the Franklin Bobbitts before them, like to rank and sort students, teachers and schools—rewarding those at the top and punishing those at the bottom, something that the highest-achieving countries not only don’t do but often forbid. The present-day Bobbitts would create “efficiencies” by firing teachers and closing schools, while issuing multimillion-dollar contracts for testing and data systems to create more graphs, charts and report cards on which to rank and sort… well, just about everything.
She provides some historical context that I didn’t know. This speech will certainly be on this year’s “The Best…” list of education policy articles. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy.
Why Attention Will Return to Non-School Factors is a guest commentary in Ed Week.. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.
Teacher Evaluations: Where Do We Go From Here? is a post from Learning First. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.